In my force we seem to have a large team of people, mainly civilians who’s primary role is to gather statistics and punch data into a computer. They produce information informing the SMT (senior management Team) about how poor or how well we are doing in certain areas, I don’t really know who these people are! they are just names at the end of an email or in a PowerPoint presentation.
I am told things like we are the worst performing station for carrying out things like stop searches and that we need to do more to get inline with other stations across the force and the rest of England and Wales.
We are told that we are one of the worst for detecting a certain type for crime, maybe theft from motor vehicles or violence against the person and that we MUST improve in this area!
We are constantly reminded of what percentage of a crime group we have managed to detect over the past 12 months compared with the previous 12 months!
As a uniformed frontline police officer do I need to know how we are performing compared to another force of another part of my own force?
Does it make a difference to how I police the streets on a daily basis?
Just suppose as a direct result of the figures compiled by the bean counters I manage to carry our 50% more stop and searches of people during my shift, does that mean everything is ok because now we are no longer at the bottom of the stop search table?
What it probably means is that due to pressure put on officers on the street I have managed to somehow find grounds to search someone who probably didn’t need to be searched, even if it could be justified. The point I make is that the bean counters are having a direct affect on what I am doing and how I am policing.
Policing on the street is something that should not be interfered with or influenced by a statistic! It’s something that officers experience and what we used to call a ‘coppers nose’ should dictate who gets stopped and searched. Just stopping someone because you know they tick the boxes and there are grounds to make the search is wrong. Officers should NOT feel they have to search someone just to appease the managers figures.
The police service is still being driven by performance figures and the requirement to make detections!! Cheap detections are still the order of the day, its all about quantity and NOT quality and it’s only going to get worse as far as I can see.