Advances in technology have led to the emergence of new forms of crime, and have enabled other crimes to move online, changing their nature and impact on victims and communities. Technological change has also generated new opportunities for the police, at a time of increasing focus on efficiency and innovation.
Against this backdrop, there remains a complex relationship between public expectations of the police and the operational realities of modern-day policing. Police forces collectively have seen funding reductions of about 19% since 2010/11, accompanied by a significant reduction in the size of the police workforce.
Many crimes are under-reported to the police and require proactive engagement with certain communities, and a large proportion of police time is devoted to non-criminal activity, such as mental health crisis work.
This inquiry explores the challenges of modern policing, and examines whether police forces in England and Wales are sufficiently equipped and resourced to keep the public safe and to respond effectively to evolving demands and changing patterns of crime.
Terms of reference
Written evidence is invited on the issues set out below – but please note that submissions do not need to address all of these issues.
- Reforms which may be necessary to ensure the police service has the ongoing capacity and capability to fulfil its primary task of ensuring public safety, in the face of new and evolving threats and challenges.
- Current and future crime trends and their implications for policing in England and Wales, including emerging or growing categories of crime (such as online crime and child sexual abuse) and under-reported types of crime.
- The extent to which the police are sufficiently equipped to deal with these changing patterns of crime and other operational demands, such as mental health crisis work, and where gaps in capacity and capability are likely to lie.
- The relationship between public expectations of the police, including desired visibility and perceived priorities, and the operational realities of policing within the current financial context.
- Police funding levels, efficiency and cost-effectiveness, including the role of Police & Crime Commissioners (PCCs) in driving innovation and reform.
- The role of digital technology in policing, including take-up, risks and barriers to use.
- International best practice examples of innovation in policing, and the extent to which they could be replicated in England and Wales.
Submitting written evidence
Written submissions for this inquiry should be submitted online by midday on 16 February 2017.
Launching the inquiry Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, Yvette Cooper MP said:
"Police forces are facing multiple new and emerging challenges in their quest to protect the public from harm, including the growth of online crime and the pressures generated by non-crime demands, such as mental health crisis work. Ongoing funding reductions mean there is continuing demand for new efficiency measures, and technological change provides new opportunities for innovation.
Against this backdrop, the Home Affairs Committee is launching a major inquiry into 'Policing for the Future', to examine whether the police have appropriate capabilities to deal with modern challenges to public safety, changing patterns of crime, and new ways of engaging with the public whom they serve. We are seeking written and oral evidence on the reforms which might be required to ensure that our police are fit for purpose, cost effective and open to innovation and technological change."