On targets, the Home Secretary seems to be campaigning against her own PCCs…

At last week’s Superintendents’ Association conference, the Home Secretary reminded her audience – and PCCs – that she’d scrapped targets, and wouldn’t micro-manage what forces do. But, she said, targets were making a come-back in some forces…
And yet I have noticed that targets have been making a come-back in many forces. Those targets certainly aren’t coming from me, and they aren’t being used to increase the effectiveness of policing. Their main function seems to be to act as a security blanket for senior officers – a way to avoid taking responsibility for the decisions they have to make.
The BBC has today published its analysis of which PCCs have set targets for their forces. I’ve taken the BBC analysis one step further, looking at whether PCCs’ political allegiance might be linked to their propensity to set targets. Here are the results:
1. Conservative PCCs are the most likely to have set targets, and Labour PCCs the least likely.
The ratios of “set target” to “haven’t set target” are
Tory = 9 have, 7 haven’t (i.e. 56% of Conservative PCCs have set targets),
Independent = 5 have, 7 haven’t (i.e. 42% have),
Labour = 4 have, 9 haven’t (31%)
2. Conservative PCCs seem much more likely to set a large number of targets.
5 Tory PCCs, one Labour PCC and one independent PCC have set their force ten or more targets.
This further analysis of BBC data suggests that the Home Secretary’s campaign against target-setting is primarily directed at Conservative PCCs.
FOOTNOTE (19th September 2013, 11am): It’s well worth taking a look at Jon Harvey’s comments on this news story. Jon’s blog is “Eiji Toyoda, targets and PCCs”, and contains some excellent further thinking around the 23 PCCs that appear NOT to have published targets. It’s also well worth visiting Insp Simon Guilfoyle’s many blog entries on policing and targets, for example “Finding the Source”.
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3 Comments

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3 responses to “On targets, the Home Secretary seems to be campaigning against her own PCCs…

  1. LAWRENCE DAVID

    Bernard, Only thing worse than merger is cloning. Micro management from Whitehall leaves all overhead in place and yet risks all in one direction.

    What is needed is well publicised examples of the benefits where appropriate of joint working.

    Same applies to Bedfordshire Pension Fund Regards David

    • Indeed, David, several advantages there of having 41 PCCs – that they can “do what’s right locally”, plus learn from each other as to what works (and what doesn’t).

      (Though those against PCCs might argue that it simply introduces a “post code lottery” in policing – i.e. that it’s preferable in their eyes for all to be equally good bad or indifferent).

  2. John Kenny

    Dear Bernard, Please find attached my own ideas on police targets which were considered to be lead letter material for the Daily Mail but which like many of my other contributions to The Times,Telegraph,Independent and Guardian over recent years attracted the usual sullen silence from those in authority. Perhaps you have the contacts to demand some kind of response? Best wishes, John Kenny

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