HMIC provides assurance that chief constables are having regard to the Strategic Policing Requirement – but finds that more needs to be done
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HMIC provides assurance that chief constables are having regard to the Strategic Policing Requirement – but finds that more needs to be done collectively by all forces to respond to all of the national threats set out in the Requirement.
In a report published today, HMIC provides assurance that chief constables are having regard to the Strategic Policing Requirement (SPR). But, HMIC identifies that much more needs to be done by forces to secure the levels of preparedness that are necessary for them to collectively respond to the all of the national threats, as required by the SPR; and recommends that chief constables need to immediately establish a collective leadership approach, in order to secure the required levels of national preparedness.
In July 2012, the Government published the SPR – a document setting out the Home Secretary’s view of the national threats the police service must address, and the appropriate national policing capabilities that are required to counter those threats. The introduction of police and crime commissioners (PCCs) brings the focus of policing to a local level – however, there are certain areas that cross force boundaries and require a national approach. The SPR advises what, in strategic terms, police forces need to achieve on national issues, but not how they should achieve it.
The specific national threats set down in the SPR are: terrorism, civil emergencies, organised crime, public order threats and large-scale cyber incidents. The SPR also outlines the nationally required policing response to counter these threats, and this response is described in the SPR as:
- the combined national capacity of all police forces to respond to these threats;
- the capabilities that police forces, often working collaboratively, need to maintain in order to achieve these outcomes;
- the requirement for consistency among forces for certain key specialist capabilities; and
- the connectivity arrangements by which resources from several police forces may effectively be co-ordinated or mobilised together.
The scale of the SPR means that HMIC will undertake a series of inspections over the next three years, to provide an in-depth, evidence-based review and analysis. The report published today is the first in a series of reports looking at forces’ responses to the SPR, and is based on data and evidence provided by all 43 police forces in England and Wales. HMIC also conducted fieldwork in 18 forces, and the report provides a broad outline of how police forces, have responded to the SPR so far.
The SPR specifically directs HMIC to “provide assurance that the preparation and delivery” of SPR requirements “have been subject to a proportionate and risk-based testing and inspection regime”. In this first report, HMIC found that this assurance can be provided.
HM Inspector of Constabulary, Stephen Otter, said:
“Our report today concludes that HMIC can provide assurance that chief constables are having regard to the SPR when exercising their functions.
“We found that the levels of resources dedicated to the police response to the national threats have not changed appreciably following the publication of the SPR. The capacity and capability of the police to respond to national threats is stronger in some areas than others – with the police response to the cyber threat being the least well developed. Our inspection found that a lack of a clearly articulated approach to the SPR by the collective leadership of the police service has contributed to unnecessary variations in the capacity and capability of forces to respond.
“HMIC makes a number of recommendations; one being for chief constables to immediately establish a collective leadership approach that is committed to securing the required level of preparedness to respond to the national threats – in a way that is consistent across England and Wales.”
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- Two further reports to be published by HMIC this year will provide more detailed examinations of police force responses to the threats from public order and large-scale cyber incidents. HMIC will give more detailed consideration to the other national threats in the next three years.
- HMIC has no authority to inspect PCCs. Therefore, this report is focused on the duty of the chief constable, which is set down in the SPR as: “Chief constables must have regard to both the police and crime plan and the SPR when exercising their functions. Their police and crime commissioners will hold them to account for doing so.”
- Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) is an independent inspectorate, inspecting policing in the public interest, and rigorously examines the efficiency and effectiveness of police forces to tackle crime and terrorism, improve criminal justice and raise confidence. HMIC inspects all 43 police forces in England and Wales together with other major policing bodies.
- For further information, HMIC’s press office can be contacted during office hours from 8:30am – 5:00pm Monday – Friday on 0203 513 0600.
- HMIC’s out-of-hours press office line for urgent media enquiries is 07836 217 729.