Chief Superintendent says police filling gaps left by social services

‘Police are now 24-hour social workers’: Chief Superintendent says the force is in its worst shape in 25 years with officers unable to do what public expects because they are ‘filling gaps left by other services’

  • Paul Griffiths, head of Police Superintendents Association says policing in crisis
  • He said officers are under pressure and they are now a ’24 hour social service’ 
  • The chief superintendent is supporting an independent review into policing
  • The root-and-branch review will be carried out by Sir Michael Barber, former adviser to Tony Blair 

A chief superintendent says policing is in crisis and officers are no longer able to deliver for the public because they have to fill gaps left by other services.

Paul Griffiths, head of the Police Superintendents’ Association said officers are now a ’24 hour social service’, and are under increasing pressure as he lent his support to an independent review. 

He will announce a root-and-branch review of the state of policing in the UK at the PSA’s annual conference today, which will be carried out by Sir Michael Barber, a former adviser to Tony Blair.

Paul Griffiths, head of the Police Superintendents’ Association said officers are now a ’24 hour social service’, and are under increasing pressure as he lent his support to an independent review

He told The Times that the current landscape is the worst he has seen in his 25 year career.

He said: ‘For more than three years we have been calling for a national review of policing. There’s a gap developing between what we have resources for and the way the service is changing. 

‘It is abundantly clear that the service is unable to deliver to the expectations of the public. 

‘I think it’s the fact we are a 24-hour social service part of the crisis is that we have filled the gaps in society left by other services and spread ourselves too thin.’

Mr Griffiths will today announce a root-and-branch review of the state of policing in the UK at the PSA’s annual conference

The review, led by Sir Michael, will be supported by police chiefs and public bodies including the Cabinet Office, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and the National Crime Agency.

He will consider seven key areas, including the demand caused by rising crime levels, public expectations of the police, use of technology, accountability and working with health and education services, the Times reports.

As well as consulting ministers and politicians from all parties, academics and business and community groups, a series of events around the country will allow police officers and members of the public to be consulted. 

The review is being supported by senior figures across law enforcement, including Lynne Owens, head of the NCA, and Martin Hewitt, head of the National Police Chiefs’ Council.

Yesterday Home Secretary Priti Patel (pictured) called for urgent action over assaults on police with tougher punishments for the ‘monsters’ who attack officers

A final report will be published in June 2021, with regular interim papers being published throughout that time. 

Sir Michael said: ‘Developments such as cybercrime, serious and organised crime, modern slavery, gangrelated crime and big increases in the reporting of sexual crime all pose new challenges. 

‘In this context it makes sense to undertake a strategic review and to establish firm foundations for the police service into the middle of the 21st century and beyond.’ 

Mr Hewitt said: ‘The policing environment has changed profoundly in many ways and the policing mission has expanded in both volume and complexity. 

Patel defends PM after female cadet officer collapses during speech 

Priti Patel has leapt to Boris Johnson’s defence after a female cadet officer collapsed during a speech made by the Prime Minister last week.  

Mr Johnson had student officers lined up behind him as he spoke in Yorkshire on Brexit before the officer fell down. 

 Ms Patel said: ‘It is difficult to stand for a period of time. We were running late, there was no doubt about that.

‘But the fact of the matter is the poor recruit who fainted, we did speak to her, both the Prime Minister and I did speak to her afterwards, and I’m afraid these things do happen.’ 

‘This has taken place against a backdrop of diminishing resources. As we enter a period of growth it is timely to take an objective and rigorous look at the role that the police play in policing, and how we can most effectively keep the public safe.’ 

Yesterday Home Secretary Priti Patel called for urgent action over assaults on police with tougher punishments for the ‘monsters’ who attack officers.

In a speech at the conference, Ms Patel stressed she is ‘on the same side’ as the service and wants longer jail terms for the attacks.

Last year the maximum punishment for attacking an emergency services worker was increased to 12 months in prison. 

She  said: ‘We need a strong deterrent to make those thugs think twice. 

‘The Assaults on Emergency Workers Act was a start, but in its first six weeks only one in four people convicted of new offences were jailed and the average sentence was just over two months.

‘I know the strength of these punishments is a matter of concern to you all, and I share those concerns.

‘This epidemic of attacks demands urgent action. I’m now working with the Lord Chancellor to make sure they are handled with the appropriate severity by the whole criminal justice system.’

Last month Thames Valley Police constable Andrew Harper was killed when he was dragged under a van while responding to reports of a burglary.

Earlier in August, Pc Gareth Phillips, a 42-year-old West Midlands Police traffic officer, suffered life-changing injuries when he was run over by a suspected car thief in Birmingham.

And Metropolitan Police constable Stuart Outten, 28, was left with head and hand injuries after challenging a motor offences suspect allegedly armed with a machete in Leyton, east London.

The latest official figures show a 27% rise in the number of assaults on Pcs resulting in injury in the last year in England and Wales.

According to the Office for National Statistics there were 10,399 incidents recorded between April 2018 and March this year – 2,242 more than the 8,157 in the same period the previous year.

Ms Patel added: ‘We have to work together to make sure that anyone who assaults an officer gets a sentence that truly fits the crime.

‘Both you and the hard-working, law-abiding majority we all serve, deserve to see justice done. And that means bringing the full force of the law down on those monsters who prey on our police.’

She said she is ‘urgently exploring’ what more can be done to support bereaved families of officers who are killed on duty and will look in to new ways that they can be honoured. 

The PSA wants another 300 superintendents to be recruited as part of the additional 20,000 officers that have been pledged by the Government, to bring the service back to 2010 strength.

Ms Patel also defended the new Prime Minister Boris Johnson using rows of student officers from West Yorkshire Police as a backdrop for a political speech last Thursday.

One policewoman almost fainted during the speech and had to sit after she and her colleagues were kept waiting for over an hour.

The Home Secretary said they were launching the recruitment drive for 20,000 officers and she did not accept accusations that the police were being politicised.

Asked about the woman who fainted, she said: ‘It is difficult to stand for a period of time. We were running late, there was no doubt about that.

‘But the fact of the matter is the poor recruit who fainted, we did speak to her, both the Prime Minister and I did speak to her afterwards, and I’m afraid these things do happen.’

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