National Police Chiefs’ Council chairman Martin Hewitt has said that the planned Royal Commission on the effectiveness of the criminal justice system is an opportunity to review the policing model in England and Wales such that it better meets 21st Century threats.
Hewitt said: “We are entering the new decade with a new Government, the recruitment of 20,000 new officers in the next three years and a planned Royal Commission into the effectiveness of the criminal justice system. This is a moment of real opportunity to have a thorough look at policing, what it should deliver, what it should prioritise and how it’s structured to do that.”
Hewitt continued: “Policing must be a critical part of the Royal Commission. It will be a missed opportunity if police structures are excluded because they have such an impact on the effectiveness of the whole criminal justice system. That’s not to say that a major reorganisation by merging forces should be immediately implemented, but we must start the process of reviewing and rationalising our structure and making objective, evidence-based decisions about which elements of policing should be delivered at the national, regional and local level.”
Currently, there are 43 territorial forces in England and Wales, the Police Service of Northern Ireland and Police Scotland, in addition to three specialist forces.
A Royal Commission to ‘improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the criminal justice process’ was among the measures announced in last month’s Queen’s Speech.
The last Royal Commission on the criminal justice system reported in 1993.