Share Article: Policing – A Crisis of Confidence?

Many newspapers this week ran a headline in these or similar terms:

‘Trust in police hanging by a thread, inspectorate says.’

The impetus for this kind of comment was a damning report published by the Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Andy Cooke.

In the State of Policing 2022, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary Andy Cooke has said:

the police need to prioritise the issues that matter most to the public;

  • forces are failing to get the basics right in investigation and responding to the public, and they need to concentrate on effective neighbourhood policing; and
  • critical elements of the police service’s leadership and workforce arrangements need substantial reform, such as more scrutiny on
  • vetting and recruitment processes, including for chief officers.

The report makes three recommendations to the Government and chief constables, which include:

  • reviewing legislation to make HMICFRS’s remit of inspection clearer and clarifying its power to inspect policing functions delivered by police and crime commissioners;
  • re-establishing the role of the inspectors of constabulary in selecting and appointing police chief officers; and
  • new research into the deterrent value of stop and search and the causes of disproportionality in its use.

Pulling no punches, Andy Cooke said:

“I was a police officer for 36 years before I took this job. I am in no doubt of the dedication, bravery and commitment of the vast majority of police officers and staff. But there are clear and systemic failings throughout the police service in England and Wales and, thanks to a series of dreadful scandals, public trust in the police is hanging by a thread.

I am calling for substantial reform to give the inspectors of constabulary more power to ensure we are able to do everything necessary to help police forces improve. Over the years, we have repeatedly called for change. There are only so many times we can say the same thing in different words – it is now time for the Government to bring in new legislation to strengthen our recommendations.

Change needs to start at the top. Chief constables and police and crime commissioners need to do more to make sure their forces are efficient and to get a grip on their priorities. The police are not there to be the first port of call for people in mental health crisis or to uphold social justice. They are there to uphold the law.

Forces need to show professionalism, get the basics right when it comes to investigating crime, and respond properly when someone dials 999. This is what matters most to the communities they serve and this is the way forward for the police to regain the public’s trust. The fundamental principle of policing by consent, upon which our police service is built, is at risk – and it is past time to act.”

As solicitors who deal daily with the actions of individual police officers we closely monitor developments in policing in order to understand what impacts these may have on the cases of those we defend.

We remain concerned that current funding levels may mean criminal offences are not properly investigated, with the inherent risk that the wrong person may be accused simply because of an inadequate investigation.

How can we help?

If you need specialist advice on a matter of criminal law, then get in touch with our Crime Team on 020 7935 3522 or or in an emergency please call our 24/7 number 0797 3259382 and let us help. We can advise on a plea, defences and potential sentences in a wide range of circumstances.

Whatever your personal circumstances the above is only a guide and we would advise you to contact us to obtain definitive advice as you will appreciate that each person’s circumstances are unique to them.

Image credit: © West Midlands Police



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