HC Deb 03 December 1993 vol 233 cc781-3W
Sir Ivan Lawrence

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will select and make known a first set of objectives and performance indicators for policing, as proposed in the White Paper on police reform.

Mr. Howard

The following is the text of a letter which I am sending today to all police authority chairmen and chief constables. I am writing in similar terms to the commissioners of the Metropolitan and City of London police forces, and to the chairman of the City of London police committee.

Key objectives for policing 1994–95 The White Paper on Police Reform contains a commitment that the Home Secretary will publish each year a brief statement of key objectives for the police service. This will explain the tasks which the Government consider that the police should be tackling as matters of priority across the country. The key objectives, which are centred on the principles of the citizens charter, will provide a framework for the assessment of police performance. I am writing now to set out the Government's key objectives for policing in 1994–95. These are based on the objectives provisionally set out in the White Paper, refined in discussion with the police, with local authority associations and with Her Majesty's inspectorate of constabulary. The objectives will be further refined in the light of experience gained during the coming year. I intend to treat 1994–95 as a trial run. This should provide useful experience which will help to ensure that the system of setting objectives and measuring progress is soundly based. Once the necessary legislation is in place, police authorities and chief constables will be required by statute to have regard to the key objectives for policing. In setting particular objectives the Government is well aware of the wide nature of the police role. This is encapsulated in the guidelines laid down by the first joint Commissioners of the Metropolitan Police: The primary object of an efficient police is the prevention of crime; the next that of detection and punishment of offenders if crime is committed. To these ends, all the efforts of the police should be directed. The protection of life and property, the preservation of public tranquility, and the absence of crime, will alone prove whether these efforts have been successful, and whether the objects for which the police were appointed have been attained. While proposing that particular effort should be directed towards improving the performance of certain tasks, the Government reaffirms the importance which it attaches to other essential policing duties such as the maintenance of public order, the fight against drugs and terrorism and the prevention of crimes against children. In certain areas theft of and from vehicles is a major probem requiring action by the police as well as others. You are, I know, already contributing towards wider Government objectives such as the reduction of the number of road traffic accident casualties by one-third by the year 2000. All these tasks, together with others which I have not mentioned, remain important. It is precisely because the role of the police is so varied that the Government believes that performance can best be improved by focusing more sharply each year on a small number of areas of concern to the public. The aim of the key objectives is to encourage progress in these areas in addition to maintaining the good levels of service which the police are providing in response to other demands. The key objectives for 1994–95 will be:

  1. 1. to maintain and if possible increase the number of detections for violent crimes;
  2. 2. to increase the number of detections for burglaries of people's homes;
  3. 3. to target and prevent crimes which are a particular local problem in partnership with the public and other local agencies;
  4. 4. to provide high visibility policing so as to reassure the public;
  5. 5. to respond promptly to emergency calls from the public. Progress towards each of these objectives will be measured by 783 the key performance indicators set out in the Appendix to this letter. In all cases this information is already being gathered by the police for other purposes, such as the Audit Commissioner's performance indicators. They should therefore not add to the paperwork burden on the police. I expect Chief Constables to publish the information collected for the full range of performance indicators in their Annual Reports.
In future years police authorities and Chief Constables will be required to set targets for making progress towards the key objectives. You may, in 1994–95, wish to experiment with setting local targets related to the various key objectives. I would encourage the publication of the key objectives locally in the context of the Citizen's Charter initiative and in tandem with any existing local policing charters or statements of service standards. The Association of Chief Police Officers has already undertaken considerable work in defining national standards for the police. The Government welcomes this work which complements the proposals for setting key objectives and targets set out in the White Paper on Police Reform.


Key performance indicators are:

  1. 1. The number of violent crimes detected per 100 officers.
  2. 2. The number of burglaries of dwellings detected per 100 officers.
  3. 3. No high level indicator is currently available. Work on developing such an indicator for 1995–96 will be taken forward over the next year, aimed at measuring the effectiveness of crime prevention initiatives.
  4. 4. Public satisfaction with levels of foot and mobile patrols.

5. (i) The percentage of 999 calls answered within the local target time. (ii) The percentage of responses within the local target time to incidents requiring immediate response.