The Police Force is a Service in Crisis?

Essay by fearneyCollege, UndergraduateA, November 2009

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The Labour Government under Tony Blair came into power in 1997 with a promise to rapidly increase the number of police. In 2000 the Prime Minister made police recruitment a spending priority. Since 1997 England has seen the largest ever expansion of its policing forces; in 2006 - 2007 police numbers throughout the UK reached record highs . There appears however that a lack of funding has created a potential crisis amongst forces that can no longer afford to pay increased staff numbers. This report will consider whether police force is in crisis and why.

The police forces in England are divided up into forty three areas, each force managing its own budget through council taxes, government grants, and various community fundraising activities. Forces are responsible for the numbers of staff which they employ although this is heavily influenced by the government and its related funding. From 1997 to 2004, a net total of 13,000 extra police have been hired and all the main parties were promising to increase the number of police further.

This is not a surprising policy as there is strong public perception that more police makes for a safer society. Labour encouraged and offered incentives for forces across the UK to take on many new police in some cases increasing their numbers by 100%. In 2004 the former London Mayer, Mr. Ken Livingstone (2000-2008) released a manifesto which said: 'Over the next four years we will work with the government to continue to increase police numbers and expand the number of community support officers.' The Audit commission reviewed the situation in 2006 and revealed that 'a culture of unbridled growth and too little regard for good financial management has developed within the Police service. The greater the number of police the higher the crime detection rate...