Police Reform (Community Policing) Act 2001

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Police Reform (Community Policing) Act 2001

Post by Andy Edwards »

Madam Speaker,

I beg to move that leave be given to bring in a Bill to make provision about the administration and governance of police forces through existing police authorities, to expand community policing efforts and cross-agency cooperation in public service, and for connected purposes.

When Sir Robert Peel sought to organize the first modern professional police force in London, he did so through the development of what we know today as the Peelian principles. These principles, boiled down to their core form, are built around the ideas that police effectiveness should be judged not on the number of arrests or the number of people imprisoned, but rather the absence of crime and that police should be accountable and responsible to the needs of the public. It was Sir Robert himself that had said "the police are the public and the public are the police." It was an innovative development of policing not as merely the power of the state to punish those who had broken the laws or the social contract, but rather to be professionialised members of the community that worked with the community to promote order and observance of the law.

I don't wish to say that we have strayed from that ideal; indeed I believe it is the opposite. When you compare police forces in Britain to their counterparts globally, I would say that the police have done a solid job of working to build trust in communities and have sought to use this trust more than they would in countries where police are all too quick to grab their truncheons and their guns in an attempt to use force to solve every problem that comes their way. But we should always strive to do better, and to be better. I think that the words of Sir Robert can be one guide in this respect.

The words too, of Sir William Macpherson, can be a guide as well. I know from certain statements to the press that honourable and right honourable Members of this House are familiar with his words and his work relating to policing, even if understanding of those words seems to elude them. Those words too outline how well our police function and operate, but lay out an ideal that we can do more to engage with communities, particularly those that are underserved by law enforcement such as minority communities. We can make sure they are heard and have the same positive regard and trust in police that most of us seem to already have.

At the same time, we want to make sure that the police have the right tools to do the jobs they have been asked to do in their communities. Our understanding of crime and its causes has evolved significantly since the days of Sir Robert and the first leaders of the Metropolitan Police in London. We have a better understanding how illness, how need, and how lack of access to basic services and support can so easily lead someone into crime, and we understand too the risk that starting with one crime can also lead to a lifetime of it. What might have been explained away as "bad apples" has turned into a far more complex picture- and crimes that occur may not have happened if only the right response and the right tool were available.

So the aims of this legislation are laid out: we are trying to improve upon the relationship between public and police, we are striving to do better than we have before, particularly with communities that have been left out, and we are trying to bring more tools to the goal of eradicating crime beyond just fighting over who might hire more police officers or build more prisons.

How do we best do that?

This legislation focuses on police authorities as the best tools to improve and build on policing. It expands the authorities to include members of the community that were not included in the Police Act 1996- particularly on engaging communities in the drafting of police plans. It brings in experts and practitioners in fields such as education, mental and physical health, and benefits access to ensure that our shared goal of eliminating crime can use all the tools that we have available. It allows us to prevent crime by addressing the needs of those who might otherwise have no options or no choice. We also include those whose voices must be heard. This Government's work on promoting the rights of victims and ensuring they have a role in criminal proceedings leads to the idea that these same victims should have a say in how policing is carried out- so that they can be the ones to help prevent more victims in the future. Drawing on the recommendations of the Macpherson report, we're also ensuring that minority populations have fair and protected representation in these authorities as well.

At the same time, this legislation seeks to increase accountability. Under the provisions of the Police Act 1996, policing plans- which will now become community policing plans- only needed to be sent to the Home Office and authorities could choose to publish such plans and the report on the results of those plans how they might have liked. Now the law will require those plans to be made public so that anyone who has concern about crimes in their neighbourhoods can understand how the police and how other agencies will reach. The development of these plans will also be made public. And the public should have and now will have the opportunity to raise concerns to the relevant police authority on issues that impact them. Authorities will be held accountable to the people they represent. And police as well will be more accountable to authorities in carrying out and implementing the community policing plans by giving authorities the power to call in officers to respond to questions or concerns... and to have the right to dismiss those who are not carrying out the plan or who are causing harm to our communities.

Community policing plans and their content will be codified in legislation rather than an order, to lay down firmly and without question the bare minimum of what should be included in community policing- including ensuring that non-police agencies have a role to play in fighting crime and also ensuring that we're combatting racism in our communities and our institutions.

Our police have a very difficult job, and they are incredible at what they do. As I stated, I would hold them up as a much-needed example to police forces in other countries, on how ensuring trust in a community will do far more to help address crime than the biggest gun or the newest quote "non-lethal" unquote devices. And I do trust them with my life. But our police can always improve, and they could benefit from having the support of other organisations in their community as envisaged by this legislation. This is how we fight crime in Britain. Sir Robert Peel understood that much, and it would be of great benefit to us if we heeded his words today as we consider this legislation.

I commend this bill to the House.
Police Reform (Community Policing) Act 2001

An Act to make provision about the administration and governance of police forces through existing police authorities, to expand community policing efforts and cross-agency cooperation in public service, and for connected purposes.

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

Section 1. Community Policing Plans.

(a.) Section 8. of the Police Act 1996 shall be stricken and replaced with the following language:

Section 8. Community Policing Plans

(a.) Every police authority established under Section 3. shall, before the beginning of each financial year, issue a plan setting out the proposed arrangements for the policing of the authority’s area during the year (community policing plan).

(b.) A draft of the local policing plan shall be prepared by the chief constable for the area and submitted by him to the police authority for it to consider.

(c.) A community policing plan shall include, at a minimum, the provisions laid out in Schedule 10 as well as objectives established by chief constable for the area and any other areas the police authority may so determine.

(d.) Before issuing a local policing plan which differs from the draft submitted by the chief constable under subsection (b.), a police authority shall consult the chief constable.

(e.) A police authority shall publish its relevant community policing plan in a way that can be easily accessed by the public without cost, and shall provide a copy of the plan to the Secretary of State.”

N.B.: This would change the name from policing plan to community policing plan, would require the inclusion of information in Schedule 10 (which is new), and would require public posting. Previous language only required the authority to publish the plan how it felt appropriate and send to the Secretary of State.

(b.) Section 9. of the Police Act 1996 shall be stricken and replaced with the following language:

Section 9. Annual Reports by Police Authorities

(a.) As soon as possible after the end of each financial year every police authority established under section 3 shall issue a report relating to the policing of the authority’s area for the year.

(b.) A report issued by a police authority under this section for any year shall include an assessment of the extent to which the community policing plan for that year issued under section 8 has been carried out.

(c.) A report issued by a police authority under this section for any year shall contain recommended actions to be taken in any area where the assessment determines that the objectives in the community policing plan were not met.

(d.) A police authority shall publish its annual report in a way that can be easily accessed by the public without cost, and shall provide a copy of the plan to the Secretary of State.”

N.B.: This would change existing requirements to require public posting. Previous language only required the authority to publish the plan how it felt appropriate and send to the Secretary of State. It also includes a new requirement to consider and public recommendations for improvement.

Section 2. Composition and Roles of Police Authorities.

(a.) Section 4. of the Police Act 1996 shall be stricken and replaced with the following language:

“Section 4. Membership of Police Authorities etc.

(a.) Schedules 2 and 3 shall have effect in relation to police authorities established under section 3 and the appointment of their members.”

N.B.: This eliminates restrictions on the size of police authorities which the Police Act 1996 limited to 17 members.

(b.) Section 5. of the Police Act 1996, relating to the reduction of size of authorities by an order of the Secretary of State, shall be stricken.

(c.) Section 6. of the Police Act 1996, relating to the general functions of police authorities, shall be amended to add the following language (underlined):

“Section 6. General Functions of Police Authorities.

(5.) In addition to the above responsibilities, a police authority shall have additional duties related to the efficient functioning of the police force in its area and in engaging the community on issues of policing and crime. Such duties shall include-

(i.) hold public meetings on a regular or as-needed basis to discuss the community policing plan required by Section 8., the annual report required by Section 9., and any other issues the police authority deems appropriate;

(ii.) make recommendations for improvement in community policing in its area;

(iii.) review or scrutinise decisions made, or other action taken (or not taken), by the relevant chief constable in connection with the discharge of the chief constable’s functions and use such review to provide recommendations for improvement;

(iv.) identify areas where procedures need to be addressed and changed, including in training of police, in addressing community needs such as addressing racism or in reaching out to minority communities, in addressing sexual or sex-based crimes, and in addressing the needs of those with mental or physical disabilities, or other areas;

(v.) review any complaints forwarded to the panel by the public or by members of the authority; and

(vi.) regularly solicit and collect input on the effectiveness of the community policing plan and its implementation, and to use that information to make recommendations to the relevant police and crime commissioner for improvement.

(6.) A police authority may meet at any frequency that authority so determines, provided such meetings are open to the public with sufficient notice to allow for reasonable public participation.

(7.) Each police authority shall establish a means for the public to provide input or submit complaints electronically, through a message box, or by other means that is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A police authority shall treat each submission as serious and, where there is merit, shall investigate the complaint or input received,

(8.) A police authority shall have the authority to summon the relevant chief constable and his or her staff for their area to respond to recommendations or questions on any matter before the police authority, provided that such requests are made with sufficient time to allow for response. The relevant individuals shall have a duty to respond to such summons.


N.B.: This adds another responsibility to police authorities built around public engagement and efforts to respond to public needs in policing and crime. It requires meetings be open to the public and requires chief constables to participate in these meetings to respond to relevant questions or concerns.

(d.) Section 11. of the Police Act 1996 shall be amended to add the following langage (underlined), with language to be removed [in brackets]:

Section 11. Appointment and Removal of Chief Constables.

(1.) The chief constable of a police force maintained under section 2 shall be appointed by the police authority responsible for maintaining the force, but subject to the approval of the Secretary of State and to regulations under section 50.

(2.) Without prejudice to any regulations under section 50 or under the [1976 c. 35.] Police Pensions Act 1976, the police authority, acting with the approval of the Secretary of State, may call upon the chief constable to [retire] resign in the interests of efficiency or effectiveness.

(3.) Before seeking the approval of the Secretary of State under subsection (2), the police authority shall give the chief constable an opportunity to make representations and shall consider any representations that he makes.

(4.) A chief constable who is called upon to [retire] resign under subsection (2) shall retire on such date as the police authority may specify or on such earlier date as may be agreed upon between him and the authority.

(5.) The police authority may also temporarily suspend the chief constable for a period of time, acting with the approval of the Secretary of State.

(6.) The police authority may choose to suspend a chief constable or call upon such chief constable to resign if-

(a.) the chief constable for the relevant area has been charged with an offence (however, the suspension shall be lifted if charges are dropped);

(b.) there is other gross misconduct in carrying out the duties such that public safety or lives would be endangered by failing to suspend or ask for the retirement or resignation of the chief constable;

(c.) there is evidence that there is severe mismanagement of the police force, which may include understaffing for the workload involved, a significantly higher number of complaints against police relative to the national average, or there is disregard for serious incidents involving police and the public, such as the loss of life; or

(d.) there is a failure to address the needs of the community or a failing by police to provide services as outlined in the community policing plan for the area.


N.B.: This authorises authorities to ask for a resignation instead of a retirement; it’s not clear why the original legislation used retirement. It specifies the kind of activities that would warrant consideration of resignation. It would also allow for temporary suspension of duties in a selected set of circumstances (such as being charged with a crime)

Section 3. Additional Amendments

(a.) There shall be a new Schedule, Schedule 10, added to the Police Act 1996 that includes the language and provisions included in Schedule 1 of this Act.

(b.) There shall be amendments to Schedule 2 and Schedule 3 of the Police Act 1996 that include the changes included in Schedule 2 of this Act.

Section 4. Enactment and Extent.

(a.) This Act extends to England and Wales.

(b) This Act shall come into effect following Royal Assent and on such a day that the Secretary of State may appoint by statutory instrument.



Schedule 1. Community Policing Plans

Introduction

(1.) This schedule contains the language of a new schedule, to be numbered as Schedule 10., to be added to the Police Act 1996.

Schedule. 10. Community Policing Plans

Introduction

(1.) This Schedule relates to the form and content of community policing plans, as established by Section 8. of this Act.

Content of Community Policing Plan

(2.) In developing the community policing plan, the relevant police authority shall include language to address, at a minimum, each of the following-

(a.) the police authority’s objectives as it relates to policing and crime reduction;

(b.) the policing of the police area which the chief constable is to provide, including the plans to keep police officers or other officials in certain areas to build community connections;

(c.) the financial and other resources which the police authority is to provide to the chief constable to exercise the functions of chief officer;

(d.) the means by which the chief constable will report to the police authority on the chief constable’s provision of policing;

(e.) the means by which the police authority and the chief constable will engage with the public for the area in addressing community needs;

(f.) the means by which the police authority and the chief constable will address racism in the area, including providing training on recognising and addressing racial bias and in reaching out to minority ethnic communities and disabled communities to engage on their needs and views;

(g.) an identification of the issues the police will directly address and which community-related issues they will assist in and how they will collaborate with the relevant members of the police authority to address those issues;

(h.) the means by which the chief constable’s performance in providing policing will be measured;

(i.) any funding the police authority elects to make to organizations or individuals from its budget for the purposes of advancing or carrying out the community policing plan, and any conditions related to receiving or using that funding;

(j.) the means by which the chief constable will refer issues to appropriate local government and non-government groups, such as those engaged in the provision of mental health treatment, housing, and benefits among others, to address underlying causes of crime.

(3.) The Secretary of State may, through an order, identify other provisions to be included in a community policing plan.”


Schedule 2. Police Authority Composition

Introduction

(1.) This Schedule contains amendments to Schedule 2 and Schedule 3 of the Police Act 1996.

Changes to Schedule 2 of the Police Act 1996

(2.) Schedule 2 of the Police Act 1996 shall be amended to strike the language in paragraph 1, relating to the number of members of a police authority, and replace with the following language:

Schedule 2. Police Authorities Established Under Section 3

Membership of Police Authorities

(1.) There shall be no limit to the size of a police authority, provided that the number of members of a police authority covered by subparagraph (a.) and (b.) below are equal. A police authority shall take every measure necessary to ensure that its composition or make up reflects the ethnic and socio-economic makeup of the area that it serves. Membership shall be made up of-

(a.) members of local councils whose areas are wholly or partially covered by the relevant serving police authority, with at least one member from each local council but in no case shall representation among local councils be anything other than equal;

(b.) independent members, appointed under paragraph 5, provided that there is at least one member for each of the fields that are listed in paragraph 9 of Schedule 3; and

(c.) three magistrates from areas wholly or partially covered by the relevant serving police authority, appointed under paragraph 8.”

N.B.: This replaces language that talks about the makeup of the 17 members of a police authority and makes it a number without a cap, provided that local councils and independent voices have equal representation. Language about how authority members, independent members, and magistrates shall continue to apply. For the local councils, the language means that every council gets an equal say (so they all have 1 representative or, if need be, they all have 2, etc.) Additionally, this provides a requirement to mirror the ethnic and socio-economic makeup of the community served.

(3.) References to Paragraph 1 throughout Schedule 2 and 3 and any other schedule shall be amended to refer to the above amended paragraph.

Changes to Schedule 3 of the Police Act 1996

(3.) Schedule 3 of the Police Act 1996 shall be amended to amend the language in paragraph 8 (including removing language that has been placed in brackets and adding language that is underlined), relating to the selection of independent members for a police authority, and to add a new paragraph, paragraph 9, with the following amendments:

Schedule 3. Police Authorities: Selection of Independent Members

(8.) (1.) Where appointments to a police authority are to be made under paragraph 5 of Schedule 2, the selection panel for the authority’s area shall nominate persons willing to be candidates for appointment.

(2.) [Unless the selection panel are able to identify only a smaller number, t]The number of persons to be nominated by a selection panel under this paragraph on any occasion shall be a number four times greater than the number of appointments to be made [under paragraph 5 of Schedule 2] under the provision of paragraph 1 of Schedule 2 ensuring equal representation of local councils and independent members, provided that such number includes at least two nominated persons from each of the fields listed in paragraph 9 of this Schedule.

(3.) A selection panel shall consider using a public announcement process to solicit volunteers or recommendations for individuals to be submitted under paragraph 8, subparagraph 2.


(4.) A selection panel shall notify the Secretary of State of—

(a.) the name of each person nominated by it under this paragraph, and

(b.)such other information regarding those persons as it considers appropriate.

(5.) In identifying the proposed independent members, a selection panel shall provide information on the ethnicity and socio-economic status of candidates and identify the method used to determine compliance with paragraph 1 of Schedule 2 ensuring representation of the community.

(9.) A police authority shall have at least one representative from each of the following fields, provided that each field has at least one unique representative from each of the following fields-

(a.) Health care workers, such as NHS staff, or advocacy groups in the health care field;

(b.) Mental health professionals, such as NHS staff, or advocacy groups in the mental health care field;

(c.) Representatives of victims of crime in the appropriate area of the police and crime panel. Such victims may choose to represent themselves, or be represented through an advocacy group on their behalf;

(d.) Representatives of the public in the appropriate area of the police and crime panel;

(e.) Housing workers, such as those who seek to provide or find housing and housing assistance, or advocacy groups in the housing field; and

(f.) Benefits workers, such as those who assist in securing benefits, or advocacy groups that focus on assisting those eligible for benefits to receive them;

(g.) Representatives of minority ethnic groups in the appropriate area;

(h.) Representatives of disabled populations, both physical and mental, in the appropriate area;

(i.) Representatives of advocacy groups related to the care and support of children, as well as educators, in the appropriate area;

(j.) Any additional areas as designated by the Secretary of State through an order.


N.B.: This lays out areas from which independent members must be included in police authorities. It also establishes that a selection panel can and should solicit community input for representation from independent members as the original legislation did not seem to specify that as an option- and that there needs to be at least two nominees from each specific area. It also prevents doubling or tripling up- ensuring that there is a separate representative for ethnic groups and “the public” at large, for instance. I know the numbering of Paragraph 8 is funny. That’s Parliament’s doing, not me...
Link to legislation in Google Docs (READ-ONLY): https://docs.google.com/document/d/1tzU ... sp=sharing
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Re: Police Reform (Community Policing) Act 2001

Post by Simon Godwin »

Margaret Beckett, Leader of the House

Madam Speaker,

I beg this bill be printed and read for a second time.
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Re: Police Reform (Community Policing) Act 2001

Post by Barclay A.A. Stanley »

Order! Second reading.
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Re: Police Reform (Community Policing) Act 2001

Post by Brown »

Madam Speaker,

It’s a great pleasure for me to rise today to voice my support for this legislation that takes a major step forward in addressing crime in our nation. This legislation represents an important step forward in promoting community policing, which has been so successful in my home county of Derbyshire. In the late 80’s and early 90’s, it was my privilege to be a part of a new community policing program spearheaded by the Derbyshire County Council to increase the work of social workers in policing, particularly those who were homeless and/or struggling with mental illness or substance abuse issues. As a result of these programs, we saw a steady decrease in crime and recidivism within Derbyshire, not only making our community safer, but helping to connect people who needed assistance in the community to resources to help them more productive members of the community.

Of course, Madam Speaker, no solution can be a panacea--but this legislation represents one of the boldest steps forward toward addressing crime in a meaningful way in our country than I have seen during my tenure as both a member of the Derbyshire Constabulary, and as a Member of Parliament--and for that, I heartily commend my Rt. Hon. Friend, the Home Secretary, on his hard work on this measure.

Madam Speaker, research has shown that rehabilitation programs such as the ones proposed by my Rt. Hon. Friend have the dual benefit of not only lowering the amount of crime in our communities, but also help ensure that people who need assistance obtain it. It also has the important benefit of ensuring that the resources of our local constabulary can be focused on addressing violent and other serious crimes that are of great danger to our local communities and are, more often than not, committed by hardened criminals who are unlikely to be reformed rather than those who need a helping hand.

It would also be remiss of me in my position as Community and Local Government Minister not to compliment my Rt. Hon. Friend, the Home Secretary, on providing more powers to local governments to have greater oversight and control of their local police forces. Madam Speaker, the issues that Ilkeston faces in terms of community safety are very different from London or even Telford, situated in the heart of the breathtaking shadow of The Wrekin. We ought to give local governments greater abilities to discern where their constabulary’s focus should be, and I’m pleased that this bill does just that.

It is also important for us to continue for us to make clear to the public that the police services are a service to protect them and to serve them. This bill provides for meaningful community oversight of police that does not hamper their good work and, to the contrary, enhances it, by recognizing the important role of local communities in taking responsibility for oversight in law enforcement. The greater participation of local communities in ensuring that law and order is maintained in their communities will increase awareness of issues facing the community, and promote a greater feeling of responsibility for the local community to work alongside their local constabularies to ensure these goals are achieved.

In closing, Madam Speaker, I believe that the Home Secretary has proposed some of the most comprehensive criminal justice and public safety reforms in my lifetime--and passage of this bill will go a long way to ensuring the safety of our local communities while also helping those who need the most help. This sort of legislation is exactly what we need to help our citizens and protect our communities, and I encourage every member of this House to vote in favour of it.
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Re: Police Reform (Community Policing) Act 2001

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