Watchdog warns public trust in police at all-time low, urges neighbourhood policing

The police watchdog has issued a warning that public trust in the police has reached an all-time low, and urgent action is needed to restore it. Chief constables have been advised to focus on crimes that matter most to the public, ensure proper investigations, and reinstate the policy of neighbourhood policing. His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Andy Cooke, is calling for new legal powers to enforce these changes and to have a say in the appointment of chief constables.

Cooke stated that there are clear and systemic failings throughout the police service in England and Wales, with public trust in the police hanging by a thread due to a series of scandals. He emphasised that there is now a small window of opportunity to repair this trust. Cooke also acknowledged that while most officers are dedicated, brave, and committed, major reform is still needed.

He said: “A perfect example of this is that since 2016 we made a considerable number of recommendations to address police officers abusing their position with victims for sexual purpose. Not enough forces took meaningful action and that’s why we are where we are.”

Cooke also highlighted the underfunded mental health service, which has led to police officers dealing with mental health patients instead of focusing on fighting crime. Last year, the police attended 600,000 mental health incidents. He argued that the role of the police needs to be more tightly defined, as having too many demands makes it difficult for them to prioritise.

The Chief Inspector described the criminal justice system as “dysfunctional” and revealed that in October last year, the backlog of crown court cases was the highest ever recorded. He said: “In too many cases victims lose confidence in the system and withdraw from the process entirely.”

Cooke stressed the importance of neighbourhood policing as the “building block of policing” in England and Wales. He said: “By providing an effective neighbourhood policing presence, communities get the opportunity to voice their concerns and offer their opinions about local priorities. This helps police and their partner organisations, such as local authorities, to work with the public to problem-solve and prevent crime.”

A recent report revealed that all forces were now attending every reported home burglary. However, another report found that officers had failed to solve a single burglary in almost half of the areas in England and Wales over the past three years.

World News

Jamie Cartwright

Jamie is a keen traveler, writer, and (English) teacher. A few years after finishing school in the East Mids, UK, he went traveling around South America and Asia. Several teaching and writing jobs, he found himself at The Thaiger where he mostly covers international news and events.

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