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PSA shares position on policing priorities for the next UK government

Acting PSA President Nick Smart has shared the PSA's position on policing priorities ahead of the July General Election: 

As the representative body for police officers at the rank of superintendent and chief superintendent, our vision is to support and represent our members, whilst being a trusted and positive influence in policing.
Policing is a critical public service, depended on by every community. UK policing has rightly been the envy of many for decades. It is delivered by brilliant people, going out of their way to help and protect others. But this is under strain. We proudly police by consent, yet public trust and confidence in policing has been damaged.
It is our view that the following priority areas must be addressed with urgency by any government taking power from July 2024:

Demand & the wider justice system

·        Whilst recorded crime has declined in recent years, demand has grown and changed. There are less police officers to deal with crime than were in place 10 years ago and there remains national shortages in key roles such as police detectives. Officers have huge, unmanageable caseloads, which are impacting on wellbeing, performance and public confidence
·        Non-crime demand continues to take significant time away from core police activity. Whilst schemes such as Right Care, Right Person will make a difference, this will take years to fully embed, with non-crime demand continuing to divert police officers from their public safety priority.
·         The wider criminal justice system has completely broken down. Victims and witnesses are disengaging from the justice system due to lengthy delays to get their case heard, and the court and prison infrastructure cannot keep apace with the demands of modern society.

We recommend: A defined mission for policing must be agreed, with a focus on keeping people safe and investing in futures thinking, alongside a Royal Commission into the Criminal Justice System.


·        Police officers have experienced a real-terms pay cut year on year, against rising inflation, and a lack of employment rights. They are underpaid compared to similar roles in benchmarked organisations and are not rewarded fairly.
·        Short-term bursts of funding do not address serious challenges facing policing, nor do they fully take account of demand analysis and workforce planning.
·        We run the risk of creating a career it is almost impossible to recruit into

We recommend: A long-term funding strategy of a minimum of three years, to address the significant budget shortfall facing policing, and enabling chief officers to make strategic funding decisions, based on threat, harm and risk, whilst also addressing continued real-term pay cuts.

·        The police service is facing a wellbeing crisis. PSA and Police Federation member surveys show a workforce with low morale and motivation, with increasing health and wellbeing challenges linked to work.
·        The vast majority of police officers would not recommend joining the Service – an extremely concerning state of policing that has real and damaging impacts on both retention and recruitment.
·        There is a lack of commitment to supporting officers and staff, with funding to the National Police Wellbeing Service cut, and no accountability for chief officers who can choose the provisions they offer. The workforce deserves better.

We recommend: Defined and mandated standards of occupational health provisions within police forces, focused on prevention, assessed by HMICFRS, and the delivery of tangible national outcomes linked to the Police Covenant.

 Trust, Confidence and Legitimacy

·        Public confidence is declining and will continue to do so unless the issues above are addressed. An under-resourced, underpaid and unwell workforce cannot perform to its best.
·        Internal misconduct and performance processes need refreshing in terms of consistency in severity assessments, and the speed and length of investigations, to avoid damaging the legitimacy of policing.
·        Not enough progress has been made around issues linked to inclusion and diversity. We are not seen as a police service for all, and minority communities continue to be disadvantaged by the service they receive and their experiences within the police workforce.

We recommend: Independent oversight of all policing review initiatives linked to equality, diversity and inclusion, and misconduct, informed by policing, and resulting in recommendations delivered with accountability. Real change to be delivered and measured as a result of projects including the Accountability Review and Angiolini Report.

Nick Smart, Acting President.