Commenting on recent media coverage of comments by Sir Hugh Orde, President of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), Association of Police Authorities (APA) Chairman Bob Jones said:
“I fully support Sir Hugh Orde’s analysis of the very real and tangible risks of introducing party politics to policing.
“I was also very pleased by recent reports that Chris Grayling has been watching The Wire television programme. I hope he will watch more episodes, as the message most viewers pick up from the programme is that the biggest problems with policing in America are political interference and a lack of funding.
“When comparing statistics like murder rates, where the highest rates for any UK areas are a tiny fraction of The Wire’s, Chris Graylings comparisons are clearly political hyperbole. What Chris Grayling should reflect on is that the main Conservative policies would add the problems portrayed in The Wire to British policing, thereby increasing the chance that The Wire’s policing could be how Britain looks in the future.
“For the first time ever, the Association of Police Authorities and our policing partners will be speaking to politicians during the upcoming party conferences. At these events politicians will have a chance to speak with senior police figures including Sir Hugh himself, about police accountability and confidence issues, including recent international reports which show that most comparable American policing is seeking to move away from direct party-political influence.”
Notes for Editors
- The Association of Police Authorities (APA) represents all 44 police authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Local police authorities, along with the Home Secretary and chief officers of police, make up the tripartite relationship which is responsible for the governance of policing in England and Wales.
- Police authorities are made up of local people comprising a mixture of councillors, magistrates and independent members. Police Authorities are responsible for
- setting the budget for their police force, including raising local council taxes for policing consulting and engaging with local communities to find out what they want the local police to tackle
- setting the strategic direction for policing locally, deciding local priorities for policing and setting their force challenging targets to drive performance higher
- appointing (and, if necessary, dismissing) the chief officer
- monitoring and managing local police performance.