2 Marsham Street
Chief of Police of England and Wales
Only via email
September 23, 2022
Open letter to the Heads of Police for England and Wales
I am pleased and honored to have been appointed Home Secretary and I look forward to working with all of you in our collective effort to make roads safer and reduce crime. I have enjoyed meeting many of you over the past two weeks and I look forward to meeting more soon. I wanted to take this opportunity to share my top priorities for the police and our crime fighting agenda.
First, I would like to reiterate my deep gratitude for your significant contributions to the BRIDGES operation over the past two weeks. During a time of national mourning and in the face of an unprecedented security challenge, you have demonstrated to the world the high standards of British policing. Thank you on behalf of the nation.
The last few years have been challenging for the police and I am dismayed at the perceived decline in public trust in the police. We have seen too many high profile incidents that have shaken public confidence in communities across the UK. Culture and standards in the police force need to change, especially in London.
It is absolutely crucial that confidence is restored and to counter this we need a visible and responsive police force. It must meet the public’s priorities and treat victims with the respect they deserve. The public has a right to expect police to get the basics right:
Tackling antisocial behavior and neighborhood crime that can so easily rock our communities. Simply put, the public wants to know that an officer is visiting them after a crime such as a burglary. They want to feel safe in their cities, towns and villages. It’s not just about doing your daily work well, it’s also about making victims feel supported and not ignored. Unfortunately, there is an impression that the police have had to spend too much time on symbolic gestures than actually fighting criminals. That needs to change. Diversity and inclusion initiatives should not take precedence over sound policing.
Reducing crime is a key commitment from the Prime Minister and I expect the police, working with local partners, to reduce homicide, serious violence and neighborhood crime by 20%. I was heartened to learn that overall crime, excluding fraud and computer misuse, has continued to decrease over the past decade, but we still need to do more to achieve a further decrease. We also need to put a renewed focus on tackling crime and anti-social behavior in the neighborhood. Drugs, vehicle theft, vandalism and graffiti are not treated seriously enough. Yes, let’s continue your brilliant work on the county lines, but we need to go further and faster on other drug-related crimes and anti-social behavior.
My tenure as Attorney General has influenced my top priority of delivering justice and quality outcomes for victims. While recognizing our shared responsibility throughout the criminal justice system, I am deeply concerned by the current number of cases that are being investigated and then turned into indictments and subsequent prosecutions. I want to examine how we can improve the charges that have fallen for many crimes, but no more than for rape and sex crimes against women and children. I expect all forces to share the lessons learned from the Operation Soteria pilot and I strongly encourage all of you to adopt the national model when it becomes available to all forces by June 2023. Simply put, the system needs to work better together: we need more police referrals and more CPS fees.
I am now speaking to the six forces involved in His Majesty’s Police Inspectorate “deployment” process. I expect that you will all make the necessary improvements, working constructively with the HM Chief Inspector, to bring about positive and lasting change. To do my part, I am committed to ensuring that all forces have the resources and tools necessary to respond to the evolving profile of crime. For this reason I am fully committed to delivering the additional 20,000 officers promised as part of the Police Uplift Program and I expect all Chief Constables and Police and Crime Commissioners to be on track to fully allocate force levels by March 2023 and then to maintain the number of officials. We are seeing a growing and strengthened workforce and to fully support policing this government has committed to investing hundreds of millions between 2022 and 2023. This funding will give police the tools they need to meet the technological challenges of the future; This includes £100m over the next three years to fight fraud.
We must work effectively and transparently, as individuals and as a system, to curb crime and improve performance and accountability, backed by good, consistent data. An effective system that meets public expectations involves police and crime commissioners driving local police priorities and acting as strong, visible leaders; Chief Constables, who lead the local operational response; Forces working closely with their regional Organized Crime Units, NCAs, wider law enforcement and partner agencies to dismantle the organized crime groups whose activities undermine our core British values; and the broader policing system, which pushes the service to operate as efficiently as possible.
At best, policing in this country is the best in the world. That must and can be the benchmark against which all forces apply. You have my full support in this.
Rt Hon Suella Braverman KC MP, Home Secretary
Chairman of the Council of National Police Chiefs
Chairman of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners Chief Constables of the 43 Territorial Forces in England and Wales
Police and Crime Commissioners, Mayors with PCC functions and the City of London Corporation’s Court of Common Council for the 43 Territorial Forces in England and Wales
His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary
The Chairman and Chief Executive of the College of Policing
The Director General of the National Crime Agency
The Director General of the Independent Bureau of Police Conduct