HC Deb 13 July 1998 vol 316 c54W
34. Mr. Touhig

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department by what mechanisms he compares the performance of different police forces. [48431]

Mr. Michael

The Home Secretary sets out his strategic development priorities (key objectives) for the police and the performance of different police forces is compared on the basis of their effectiveness in working towards these objectives and the other measures of effectiveness studied by the Inspectorate and the Audit Commission. Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary has a statutory duty under the Police Act 1996 to inspect and report to the Secretary of State on the efficiency and effectiveness of police forces in England and Wales. In so doing, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) takes into account the performance of forces against the key policing objectives and performance indicators set by the Home Secretary, as well as against a wider range of performance indicators and criteria. HMIC also carries out thematic inspections on specific issues of public interest. Comparison of performance between forces is assisted by HMIC's model of Most Similar Force Analysis, which groups together forces with similar characteristics.

The Audit Commission is required under the Local Government Act 1992 to collect data from police authorities which will allow comparison between different areas. The data are incorporated in the HMIC reporting process, and published separately by the Audit Commission on an annual basis.