Reimagining Policing in the U.K.


Unknown-4Chief Constable Sara Thornton argues that the twin challenges of changing requirements and cost pressure mean that police in the U.K. need to think imaginatively and radically about policing.

Speaking to the Police Foundation, she stated that the service must be focused on getting the right outcomes for the public – which will entail:

  • Better demand management,
  • A commitment to evidence-based policing,
  • Further integration with other organisations, and
  • A constant emphasis on legitimacy.
  • Very different workforce skills and a change to leadership culture will be needed.

In her speech, CC Thornton concluded:

“The pressures of changing requirements and significant reductions in the budget demand different approaches.  This requires fresh thinking and determined leadership [my emphasis].  The establishment of the National Police Chiefs’ Council in April provides an opportunity to reset the way in which chief officers work together: we have been asked to contribute our ideas and we are up for the debate with the public, elected representatives and our staff to inform the “’re-imagination of policing’.”

Dr Rick Muir, Director of the [British] Police Foundation said in response:

“The police service is under unprecedented pressure, having to deal simultaneously with financial austerity and changing patterns of crime. The police need to better understand the changing nature of demand on their services. The rise of cyber crime and growing concern about child sexual exploitation in particular require a wholly different kind of policing. This year’s annual Police Foundation lecture by Chief Constable Sara Thornton provides a timely opportunity to reflect on these challenges and consider how the police, the government and citizens can work together to meet them.”

The full text of Chief Constable Thornton’s speech is set out HERE.

Although we also are beset with many of the same problems we have an enormous addition: a significant loss of trust for our police amongst poor people and those of color.

Solving that problem will take all the “fresh thinking and determined leadership” we can muster.

A good place to begin would be for each community to begin a discussion around the President’s Task Force on Policing and work to implement their recommendations. [See my earlier post on this.]


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