How to improve confidence in policing?

Interesting article in The Sunday Times today.

I don’t agree with all of it, but what caught my attention were a number of quotes from Mike Barton, former Chief Constable of Durham Police, regarded as the best police force under his leadership.

A quick Google suggests that Mike Barton combines academic rigour, common sense and uncommon insight. I found this clip of him on Question Time, raising something I have often thought about drug dealers.

Some of the key points I picked up are:

  • Invest in technology. “Make sure what the rank-and-file officers need is only three clicks away”. The Police National Computer is 48 years old and we are running out of technical support people.
  • Boost neighbourhood policing. “Community policing is the key to keeping public trust and boosting intelligence”.
  • Ensure you have the right people in the force. 100 officers who had “lost their mojo” left Durham force under voluntary severence. Those underperforming were made compulsorily redundant. He kept morale high by ensuring that officers got one of their top three job choices, e.g. dogs section.
  • Eliminate blame culture.  Rather than using the standard compliants processes designed to assign blame, Barton promoted a system of restorative justice, where officers and complainants engaged in diplomacy.
  • Listen to the critics. Barton regarded the feedback from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) as “free consultancy”.

What do you think?

Stuart Black, 3 July 2022