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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

September 16, 2005: Fewer Police Forces?

The existing structure of 43 separate police forces is "no longer fit for purpose", according to a new report from HM Inspectorate of Constabulary.

The original version of this report was presented to Home Secretary Charles Clarke on 13th September 2005. It examined service provision in a number of key areas, including counter terrorism and serious and organised crime, from the national perspective. 'Closing The Gap: A Review Of The ‘Fitness For Purpose’ Of The Current Structure Of Policing In England & Wales' recommends substantial and radical change. This may lead to some smaller forces being merged.  perspective. However, the overall findings do not identify individual forces.

The report's declared aim is to assess the whether the current structure of policing in England and Wales can :

"provide effective and sustainable protective services to a common standard in the future”.

It concludes that:

” whilst Basic Command Unit (BCU) arrangements and neighbourhood policing provides a solid local platform for the future, the current 30 year old, 43 force structure of widely different sizes, and capabilities does not.”

The reports suggests that the future policing environment will be characterised by:

  •  Widespread enterprising organised criminality, proliferating international terrorism and domestic extremism;
  • A premium on intelligence, expertise and smart use of capacity;
  • An increasingly risk concerned public and intrusive media.

The delivery of policing must therefore be:

“on a scale large enough to respond dynamically, but local enough to understand the diverse context within which it operates".

Very few of the existing 43 police forces are assessed as fully meeting the required standard. The report notes that…

“… size matters: larger forces are likely to have much greater capability and resilience whilst smaller forces, in many cases, find it hard to provide the services to an acceptable standard…”

“Forces with over 4000 officers, or 6000 staff, tended to meet the standard across the seven protective services measured, in that they demonstrated good reactive capability with a clear measure of proactive capacity. Forces below that size tended to fall someway short of the standard, with, in general, the smallest forces faring the least well."


“some smaller forces were almost as successful as the majority of larger forces, whilst two relatively large forces (5000+ staff) received surprisingly low scores.”

The size of individual police forces impacted upon the community’s vulnerability in relation to counter terrorism and domestic extremism, serious and organised crime and public order.