As Sir Ian Blair’s career as Metropolitan Police Commissioner slowly limped to an end with his resignation, serious questions have been raised about our policing system. Although Sir Ian clearly had his own failings, there are other forces at play causing problems within the county’s policing.
Party politics are interfering with the effectiveness of the police. Sir Ian was seen as a New Labour man. So it comes as little surprise that when Boris Johnson became Mayor of London, with tackling crime high up on his agenda, he made Blair’s position uncomfortable. Perhaps he was right to do so.
But the safety of citizens on the streets should be of a greater importance to politicians than point scoring. Rather than concentrating on tackling crime at a street level, political interference causes the leaders of our police forces to focus on meeting targets and handling the media. Tellingly, the Met Police website displays a list of crimes which have fallen over the past year, makes no mention of the knife, gang or cyber crimes which people are increasingly worried about.
The police are not helped in their mission to make our streets safer by the poor allocation of government resources. Our prisons are over crowded, meaning that many convicted criminals are given suspended or shortened sentences, allowing them free reign to re-offend and failing to deter others.