HMIC report entitled "Demanding Times, The front line and police visibility" has defined the front line as "...those who are in everyday contact with the public and who directly intervene to keep people safe and enforce the law." I think this is fairly reasonable. But the report then goes on to list which roles are front line, middle office and back office, which is not so reasonable or useful. What would be more useful is looking at the functions the police perform rather than the staff that do them. Where a particular function is found to be disproportionately expensive, unhelpful, underused, or inefficient it should be dealt with by either making changes to it or removing it completely. The question should be "would this function be missed by the public or is it essential to fulfilling a core policing value?". Where the answer is no, reform or removal. Mr Sims gives one example of this 'function approach' in his force, where they no longer accept lost property reports.
|Let the police do what they are good at|
don't turn them into the new social services
So a cautious well done to Chief Constable Chris Sims, lets hope his foray into front line(!) politics is a successful one.