The first duty of government is to protect its people so we must ensure we have effective and accountable police and emergency services.
The debate about policing has, for some time, been driven by police numbers yet there are many more elements to effective policing. We should concentrate more on the operational output of our emergency services rather than just counting numbers. One example of this is the need to reduce the circa 10% of police officers unavailable for duty. Driving down the proportion of officers unavailable for duty due to on long term sickness or restrictive duties will increase effective police numbers without any increased in cost.
Better use of communication and information technology will enable the police to work smart as well as working hard. Whether it is predictive crime mapping, mobile data terminals of simply cheaper, better quality police radios we should always seek to maximise their effectiveness.
Clearly the police aren’t the only agency that works to keep us safe, bringing the emergency services closer both operationally and financially will have hugely positive impact. The fire brigades and ambulance services across the country should look at more effective ways of delivering their service. Whether it’s greater use of shared buildings, joint training or shared coordination and mobilisation centres the blue light services need to find ways of meeting their ever evolving demands.
Click here to read my views on policing and the fire and ambulance services.