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Police
In a speech to the Police Federation today, David Cameron sets out some of the key themes in his approach to restoring order to Britain’s streets: social responsibility, ‘tough-on-the-causes-of-hoodies’, elected police chiefs and reform of police working practices.

Fighting crime isn’t just the role of the police: "Crime, anti-social behaviour, disorder and incivility on our streets: these are the consequences of a breakdown in society – of a collapse in social responsibility.  In the home.  In schools.  In our culture and values.  And ultimately it is you, the police, who have the responsibility of picking up the pieces of our broken society.  But if we actually want to reduce crime – instead of just responding to it – we can’t go on just picking up the pieces.  We have to mend our broken society.  And that is not your responsibility.  We broke our society – all of us, as parents, as citizens, as members of society – we broke it, and we have a shared responsibility, with government, for fixing it.  If we sit back and expect the police to do all the work, we will forever be managing the social problem of crime, rather than solving it."

Hug-a-hoodie and all that: "A year ago I made a speech about young people and crime.  Yes, the one about hoodies.  It has been more misunderstood and more misrepresented than anything I’ve ever said.  In fact it was three words I never said.  So let me try again.  Aggressive hoodies who threaten the rest of us must be punished.  They need to know the difference between right and wrong, and it’s our job to tell them.  But what do we really want, a society where more and more kids are out of control, a rising tide of crime and punishment?  Or do we want those kids to behave properly in the first place? If we do, we’ve got to stop the problems before they start, and that means making sure every child grows up in a stable loving home.  That’s not soft – it’s serious.  Politicians who attack me for saying it, even though they privately agree with me, are not tough – they’re cynical, short-term and profoundly wrong."

Democratically-accountable policing: "Like
any public service, the police must be accountable.  But I believe that
this accountability should primarily be local. After all, police forces
grew out of the localities.  In my judgement, police authorities are
too weak and too invisible to exercise that local accountability so we
plan to replace them with directly elected commissioners –
commissioners, not police chiefs – who will answer to their
communities."

Police reform: "Do you really want to work
in an organisation where your reward bears little relation to your
skills or how much you’ve put into the job?  Do you, with all your
training and experience, really want to do clerical jobs because
someone has objected to hiring a civilian to do them?  Do you really
want to work in an organisation where you can’t move jobs before
retirement because of the impact on your pension?  I suspect not.  The
changes we have proposed to the way police workforces are managed are
all intended to produce better trained, better motivated officers,
better enabled to do the job.  It would be easy for us to ignore these
issues, to choose a quiet life.  But I don’t believe that would do you,
me or the public any good. I’ve had literally hundreds of
communications from police officers, by letter, by email and in private
conversation – and I get the same message again and again. Please, just
let us get on with the job.  So when I talk about reform I emphatically
don’t mean more performance measures or national targets  in fact I
mean sweeping those things away.  So here’s the deal.  We will scrap
unnecessary paperwork such as the stop form.  We will update and
integrate inadequate police IT.  We will scrap central targets and
interference.  We will reduce the number of top down central bodies
attempting to direct policing.  We will radically simplify the
performance measures.  We will restore officer discretion.  In return I
want you to agree to the changes we need to make to build a police
force where motivated, committed officers can succeed."

Download a PDF of David Cameron’s Police Federation speech.

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