Theresa May has criticised senior officers for bringing back targets as a ‘security blanket’ instead of setting their own policies to fight specific crimes in their areas.
The Home Secretary said the Government had scrapped targets to cut bureaucracy and ensure senior officers could make their own crime fighting policies.
But she told the Police Superintendents’ Association of England and Wales (PSAEW) annual conference that targets were making a comeback as senior officers were falling back on targets to avoid taking responsibility for decisions they had to make.
She told 250 leaders at the conference that targets had not come from her and were not being used to increase the effectiveness of policing.
She said: “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.
“I am not saying that most or even many of you have responded in that way. But some of you have. And none of you should.
“It is essential that you have the confidence in yourselves that I have in you – the confidence to take responsibility for your own decisions, and not to try to hide behind an old process or procedure which enables you to evade responsibility.”
Mrs May said said the Government had scrapped targets and given up the practice of “issuing centralised, top-down diktats” to enable police to do their jobs rather than spend time filling in unnecessary forms.
She also rejected claims that cuts to frontline policing had left levels dangerously low, and said told the conference in Warwickshire there had been an increase from 89% in March 2010 to 91% in March 2013.
‘Theresa May believes contentious scheme will boost the variety of outside expertise in policing and improve diversity issue in service.
Direct entry superintendents will not only enhance the pool of specialist expertise in the Police Service but could help deal with the issue of diversity, the Home Secretary has said’