On 4 September HMIC published its inspection findings about the effectiveness of policing activity in three important areas of police work: crime prevention, police response to incidents and crimes; and freeing up police time.
Commenting on the HMIC report, Surrey’s Police and Crime Commissioner Kevin Hurley said:
HMIC’s assertion that there exists a ‘postcode lottery’ for victims of crime is hardly surprising given the Government’s insistence on continuing with a system of 43 separate police forces across England and Wales. Much has been made of recent police reform, but in my judgment we are simply shuffling the deckchairs and until the Home Secretary plucks up the courage to undertake a wholesale review of police funding and structure, we and other forces will be left to paper over the cracks. I am disappointed that, as advisers to the Home Secretary, HMIC are still not facing up to these issues.
With regards to the report, whilst I always welcome supportive challenge to the work of Surrey Police I am concerned that many of the recommendations put forward by HMIC appear to have been developed on the back of a target-based matrix that allows for little in the way of qualitative or nuanced assessment. Added to the fact that HMIC has given no consideration to the potential cost and staffing implications of its recommendations in the context of the current financial climate, I will be treating its recommendations with a great deal of circumspection.
However, perhaps my biggest concern is that HMIC seems to have lost sight of its own core business and is yet again straying into the remit of Police and Crime Commissioners and Chief Constables. To be clear, the role of HMIC is to inform the decisions of police forces through the provision of information and data, not to instruct as this report appears to do.