League tables will damage forces warns Federation

23 April 2021

The secretary of Dyfed Powys Police Federation has called for the Government to re-think plans to bring back league tables, warning that they will lead to the return of a damaging target-culture within forces.

Roger Webb’s comments follow yesterday’s announcement that the Home Secretary Priti Patel is working with the Home Office to draw up plans to rank police officers and compare them against national benchmarks.

The league tables would focus on six serious crime types including homicide, serious violence and cybercrime.

“I just can’t see this having a positive impact on forces,” said Roger, “Bringing back league tables could see officers feeling unnecessary pressure to perform in certain areas, leading to the standards of other vital work slipping.

“I agree police officers should be accountable but enforced targets set by central Government will not have a positive impact on policing and communities, especially at a local level.

“I’m urging the Government to re-think these plans. This could see a return to a target culture, which could prove detrimental to our members and the public.”

Roger’s comments echo those of the national Federation chair, who has pleaded with the Government to ‘stop and think before returning to the mistakes of their predecessors’.

John Apter said scrutiny and accountability are already a large part of policing.

“Re-introducing targets in policing would be a damaging and retrograde step. In previous years when they have been used, we have seen forces focus on targets to the exclusion of other issues. This is not good for the public and certainly no good for the victims of crime,” he explained.

“These league tables would also restrict the ability of forces to focus on local issues, because chief officers would be chasing targets which were judged on criteria set in Whitehall. If, despite these warnings, this is pursued it will fail, and it will be damaging.”

Targets were introduced by the previous Government in 2007 but the Federation successfully campaigned for them to be scrapped.