Monday, 26 July 2010


Oh Boy! Here we go again, a few years ago we had the botched New Labour attempt to reorganise our Police Services now the Tories are at it! For starters the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) which was only established four years ago (by New Labour) is going to be abolished. it is worth remembering that, in 2009, Soca was heavily criticised when statistics revealed that for every £15 of public money spent, barely £1 was recovered from criminals and criminals' assets. 

The home secretary has proposed amongst other things the establishment of a new national crime-fighting agency (no doubt soon to be known as the British FBI). All well and good, but, it gets even more interesting as people will also be able to vote in two years' time for locally-elected officials to oversee each police force.

Policing in the 21st century - is described by the Home Office as a radical blueprint designed to make the service more efficient and accountable - with Elections taking place in May 2012 for police and crime commissioners to replace Police Authorities, which will have the power to set police force budgets and appoint and dismiss Police force chief constables. As you would expect both police Authorities and Senior Police officers may well be described as being less than chuffed at the prospect.

The new National Crime Agency (NCA) will include a new border police unit, the child exploitation and on-line protection centre (CEOP) and some parts of the National Policing Improvement Agency (which may well be phased out). The NCA will concentrate on cross-border organised crime, drug trafficking, and provide support to individual Police forces. 

Now, while there is room for cost cutting and room for improving Police force administrative processes and procedures the Tories run a very real risk of overtly politicising our police service. Such a move would be hugely detrimental.

Good and proper policing is by consent and there is a risk that this consent may break down if the police becomes politicised, especially if our Police services ends up doing things for overtly political ends. The sooner Home Office and Ministry of Justice functions are devolved to Cardiff where they will be accountable to the Welsh people, the better.

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