Damian Green – 2002 Speech at Conservative Spring Forum

Below is the text of the speech made by Damian Green, the then Conservative Education Spokesperson, at Conservative Spring Forum on 23 March 2002.

Most of this session is for you to make your points and ask questions, but I just want to say a few words at the outset about the state of our education system, and our Party’s approach to making it better.

Since we are in Harrogate, the constituency of the Liberal Democrats’ Education Spokesman, I should as a matter of courtesy refer to the LibDems policy. Well, policies really, because it depends where you are. This is the party that votes to abolish grammar schools in Parliament, but defends them locally. That says it supports church schools, as long as they have nothing to do with religion. Today I can unveil a new LibDem policy, on the numeracy hour. The LibDems will ask the pupil what two plus two makes, and then agree with the answer.

But many of today’s problems in our schools stem from the Government. Five years ago education was the number one priority. Now, schools are rarely on his mind, even on the occasions when he visits this country. But even he can’t believe that it’s all wonderful. There are schools where classes have had 13 different teachers in 14 weeks. Truancy is up sharply since Labour came to power. Bullying is a real problem in far too many schools. Teachers are on strike for the first time in 20 years. Head Teachers are threatening industrial action for the first time since we created state education in 1870. 20 per cent of new teachers leave the profession within three years of starting—usually complaining about the unnecessary work caused by Government red tape.

So it’s not all rosy. But nor is it all bad. One of my early tasks has been to immerse myself in the education system, which is why I spent a week in a comprehensive in south London, both learning and teaching. One heart-warming memory was of a class of 13-year-olds. They had been studying Twelfth Night, and the teacher said that there was a production on in London, and asked who wanted to see it. Every hand in the class shot up.

It shows what can be achieved by an inspirational teacher, and it cheered me up no end to see that all those educational theorists who say that Shakespeare can mean nothing to modern inner city children from ethnic minorities are talking rubbish.

And we too should take a lesson from that teacher. We should applaud the work done by teachers up and down this country every day. Teachers are not wreckers, Mr Blair. They are hard-working professionals who deserve respect. No Government will create a world-class school system without the enthusiastic involvement of our teachers.

So our task over the coming months and years is to turn into practical policies our instinct to take power away from central Government and give it those who know and care most about education—parents, governors, teachers, and the local community. People often ask us the very fair question, what difference would you lot make?

My answer is that, just as a first point, if I were Education Secretary instead of Estelle Morris far fewer directions and guidelines would pour out of the Department for Education. Teachers would spend their time teaching instead of filling in forms. Governors would be allowed to set the direction of the school. Local people, local councillors, would be trusted to know the local schools better than the Minister back in Whitehall.

A Conservative Government would not interfere across the board. We would concentrate on the areas that need change. We would back heads who want to ensure discipline in schools. We would make our vocational education as good as the best of our academic education—because it’s just as important. And we would let schools reflect the needs of their local community, not the needs of the Government’s spin doctors.

Estelle Morris and I both want excellence in our schools. The difference is that she wants to achieve it by ordering people about; I want to achieve it by trusting people. Her way is doomed to failure. You cannot run 25,000 schools from the Secretary of State’s office. Our way is to set standards of excellence, to back heads and teachers in maintaining discipline, and to trust local people to know what’s best for their children. That’s the practical way, the Conservative way, and with your help, I want to make it the way all our schools are run after the next Election.

Damian Green – 2004 Speech on British Hauliers

Below is the text of the speech made by Damian Green to the Road Haulage Association’s Spring Conference in Portugal on 21 May 2004.

“I was struck in my early weeks in this job that, for politicians, too often transport consists entirely of the railways, when rail provides only 6% of the journeys taken, and for most people road transport is much more important in their lives. All politicians are obsessed by polls, and it is instructive that MORI, in their regular polls about public attitudes to the parties in relation to the big permanent political issues, only ask about the parties’ policies towards public transport—no mention of roads and motoring. So I want to take a balanced and unemotional approach to transport planning.

Having said which, of course rail and bus policies are vital. If we don’t get the railways right, for freight as well as passengers, then increasing numbers of people will take to their cars, or their trucks, in despair, adding to the congestion we all suffer from. John Prescott notoriously said “I will have failed if in five years time there are not fewer journeys by car.” Well traffic is up 7%, and motorway congestion is up 250%. So you can’t make our roads more effective without making the railways more effective as well.

So with that as the background I want to set out three principles which will act the basis for our policies.

First, Governments should give people genuine choice about the mode of transport they choose.

Secondly, Long-term transport success will come from steady and predictable investment policies, sheltered from incessant political interference.

Thirdly, The necessary investment levels will require private sector money, and this is as important for roads as it is for railways.

Those are our guiding principles. What do they mean in policy terms? Indeed, what do they mean for your industry and its reliance on the road network. My basic pitch is that the Government should call off its war on the motorist—not least because making driving miserable for private motorists also inevitably means making it miserable for commercial motorists—including all of your drivers.

We have already made some proposals, including an audit of the positioning of speed cameras to make it clear that every one is contributing to road safety and not just acting as a silent tax collector for the Chancellor. We believe speed limits should be revisited, with higher maximum speeds possible on motorways and lower speeds necessary on some other roads.

All of these ideas are designed to make our roads flow more freely, so that no one is holding up your trucks unnecessarily, and that your trucks are not holding up other drivers unnecessarily.

Our second principle, recommending steady investment, is designed to avoid the stop-start nature of big transport investment in Britain. You will all have seen the full page adverts in papers this week arguing for more and better transport investment—the RHA was one of the bodies placing them. They laid particular emphasis on the most serious pinch points: the M1, the M4 near London, the M6 north of Birmingham, the M62 and the M25. And it is very often schemes to relieve these bottlenecks that take an age to come to fruition. There will always be planning issues, and genuine environmental issues, which cause delays. But what is most frustrating is that such schemes are often delayed further after we have gone through all the planning delays, because the Government finances of the day don’t permit large-scale blocks of extra expenditure. It applies on the roads, it’s applying to the Crossrail Scheme in London at the moment.

This is where our third principle comes in; that if we are to have a steady, well-planned flow of big transport projects, we will need to use private money more than in the past. The details of this are being worked on at the moment, and we will be coming out with announcements later this year, but I am absolutely convinced that unless we change our attitude towards the use of the private sector in building, operating and maintaining roads, we will keep suffering the same problems.

For more than 50 years, under every type of Government and through good economic times and bad, our road system has been inadequate. There is no sign that this is changing. The last progress report on the Government’s Ten Year Plan said that although we were promised less congestion when it was launched in 2000, supply chains will have to cope with growing congestion and unreliability. So even under a government that is committed to taxing and spending, the current system shows no sign of improvement. The figures are depressing. The Ten-Year Plan promised a 5% reduction in inter urban congestion, and an 8% reduction in large urban areas. The result has been a predicted increase in journey times of 30% by 2010.

The solution won’t be a single magic bullet. We will need to use our roads, especially in urban areas, more intelligently—using some of the methods I spoke about earlier. We will need more by-passes. We will need more dualling, and possibly more motorway routes. To fund these new roads, we will need more private finance.

So we need a complete change in the way we deal with transport policy. It is obvious that the life-cycle of any particular big transport project is very likely to be longer than one particular Parliament, or of one particular Party’s period in power. We need to be grown up about this. In particular we need to set up funding systems so that the temptation for new Governments or new Ministers to drop existing ideas in favour of their own pet projects is minimised.

So those are the principles. Let me turn now to the specific issue of fuel prices. No one expects the British Government to be in complete control of the oil price. But what the British Government can control is the level of fuel taxes. The Conservative Party voted against Gordon Brown’s increase of 1.9p a litre which he is due to bring in this September. At Prime Minister’s questions this week, shortly before we were all interrupted by noises off and powder on, Michael Howard asked the Prime Minister whether he would reverse this increase. There was a good deal of bluster but no answer. So we have to wait and see what the Government will do. But let me put on the record once and for all that we think this extra imposition should not happen.

On over-regulation Europe, and specifically the Working Time Directive, I am conscious that later this morning you will be hearing from Philip Bushill-Matthews, my colleague from the European Parliament, and I don’t want to tread too hard on his territory. Apart from anything else, it is bad enough to have to cope with European Directives without having to listen to two different speeches about them in the course of one morning.

So I will simply set out the main lines of our proposals. We want to get rid of at least a quarter of all existing EU regulations and directives and introduce sunset clauses for new ones. And by this we mean 25% of the total number of regulations and directives, not just a quarter of the pages in the current Acquis, which is the limit of the Commission’s ambition.

Now you will have heard politicians talk about the desirability of deregulation before. And it’s just possible you may be a little cynical. It’s even possible that I would not blame you for being cynical. You need to know how we would do it. So here goes. There are five points.

· We want a designated Commissioner with explicit responsibility for meeting deregulation targets.

· We will use the confirmation hearings for new Commissioners this autumn to test their individual commitments to the deregulation agenda

· We will use the European Parliament better for the deregulation agenda by initiating pre-legislative scrutiny of legislation, and the impact on competitiveness made explicit in every proposal.

· We would introduce the right of repeal of legislation to the European Parliament, which would mean the Commission would lose its exclusive right to delete existing laws.

· We would allow national parliaments to block proposed legislation if the thought it infringed the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality.

So these are practical measures which my colleagues in the European Parliament will pursue, and the more of them we elect on June 10th the more likely they are to be effective.

Moving on to one of the worst accusations against British Governments, Are they guilty of gold plating European Regulations? Yes they are. Gold plating is a very difficult concept to pin down, but it often means simply making a regulation more detailed and prescriptive in English law than it was when it left Brussels. One way of measuring this is the simple number of words used to transpose a directive into the country’s own legal document. On this basis, the UK adds a staggering two and third times as many words to the average regulation as it had in the original. This is much more than France, and overwhelmingly more than Portugal and Germany, the three countries where these comparisons have been made.

Changing this requires a change in the culture of Whitehall, which will only come about from a Government committed to deregulation as a central part of its economic thinking. The next Conservative Government will do that.

Moving briefly onto the Working Time Directive, our desired outcome when we were considering it was the minimum amount of regulation compatible with safety and reasonable comfort. I urged the Government to lobby for extending the reference period over which average working time is calculated. I agreed that a 17-week reference period would be too short, and would damage businesses that have a seasonal focus.

There has been much progress in the past few weeks. The six-month reference period for calculating the average week is an improvement. So is the definition of night time working. But I still think the omission of a definition of periods of availability is worrying. I hope it simply means that the Department is trying its best to find a definition that will be most helpful to those trying to run a business in difficult circumstances. I know there is a strong case for saying that driving time should be the key measure, and I would be interested to hear your views on this.

As a final specific point I should address the vexed subject of Road User Charging for lorries. It is good to know, looking at the Austrian example, that this kind of system can be made to work technically, especially when you look over the border at Germany and their problems. And certainly the current situation when British hauliers are put at a competitive disadvantage to other European companies by our own Government because of our fuel duties is neither sensible nor sustainable.

But the Chancellor’s latest delay in implementation means that the original idea, that UK hauliers deserved a more level playing field, has been forgotten until 2008 at the earliest. I know that many of you believe that the level playing field argument was always a convenient front for introducing technology that would lead to all-out road pricing. That may be true.

What is beyond argument is that we should be looking for other ways of levelling the playing field between now and 2008, if it can be done in a revenue-neutral way. I have been investigating thoughts of charging lorries that come into Britain on the basis of the mileage used when they are using our roads. So far, all the schemes I have looked at would be effective, but would also be illegal under competition law. So I am still searching. I am sure that many of you will be able to help me in this quest, and I am very receptive. UK hauliers deserve a better deal than the one they currently get from the Government, and I want to work with you all to make sure they receive it.

One last observation on the Ten Year Plan as a whole. It was, frankly, over-hyped as a solution to our transport problems. The slow progress of the Multi-Modal studies has meant that the implementation of specific road improvements has remained a weak area in the plan. Congestion charging seems to create at least as many problems as it solves. Rail planning is back in the melting pot. Tax incentives for cleaner vehicles are offered with one hand and taken away with the other.

So the degree of certainty that many people in your industry hoped for when the Plan was unveiled has not happened. There is an alternative vision, where politicians step back from the detail of industrial planning and set the framework for companies and individuals to make their own decisions. That is the vision that I and my colleagues are developing, and I am sure that it can contribute to the long-term health of our the road haulage industry—an industry which itself is absolutely essential to the long-term health of our economy.

Damian Green – 2012 Speech to the National Asylum Stakeholder Forum

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Below is the text of the speech made by Damian Green, the then Minister of State at the Home Office, to the National Asylum Stakeholder Forum on 5 July 2012.

Firstly let me begin by thanking you for inviting me to speak to you once again. It is a little over a year since we last met at city hall for what was an excellent and very informative event, with stalls showcasing various projects, and at which you were introduced to the then, new permanent secretary, Helen Ghosh.

Last year, when I met you, we were celebrating 60 years of the convention, and of the UK protecting refugees. We continue to be very proud of that tradition. The 1951 refugee convention was an attempt by the United Nations to set down terms to define who should be recognised as a refugee, and how they should be treated in the countries that received them. It was an admission by the world that we all have a responsibility to help those who cannot obtain protection in their own countries.

The convention and the protocol are the most comprehensive codification of the rights of refugees yet attempted on the international level. They are the principal international instruments established for the protection of refugees, and the UK takes its responsibilities and obligations as a signatory to those instruments very seriously. These are responsibilities which remain just as important today as they were back in 1951.

That is why the UK border agency are proud to continue to work in partnership with the UNHCR on the quality integration project, and the delivery of the gateway resettlement programme, which offers sanctuary to 750 vulnerable refugees from overseas every year, enabling them to start new lives in the UK.

The year has brought a lot of changes and a lot of improvements too. The UK border agency has welcomed Rob Whiteman as its new chief executive, and Rob is implementing a programme of work, and the necessary structures, to make the Agency a more intelligence-led organisation. Over the years to come the agency will need to employ its resources effectively against the changing challenges it faces. In doing so it will also work hard to ensure the delivery of compliance with its processes and protocols, and to ensure its work is carried out consistently across the country.

There have been a lot of developments in the world of asylum in particular as I am sure you are aware. Many of these have been achieved with the assistance of the strong relationships we have with corporate partners.

To highlight a few:

The UK border agency has increased the number of telephone lines for asylum seekers to make screening interview appointments. A pre-screening telephone appointment has also been introduced to provide us with an opportunity to understand any particular needs an asylum seeker may have, so that we do our utmost to meet those needs at the screening interview and thereafter.

The UK border agency has considered its removals capability and the need to ensure that asylum is reserved for those who truly need it; not those who use it as a backstop without just cause. To this end we have created removal hubs and worked with international partners to facilitate returns, both assisted and enforced.

The merits of a detained fast track (DFT) are an area of the asylum system upon which I know we, (corporate partners and the agency) will struggle to come to agreement. I do believe that DFT is an essential tool to help the agency process asylum claims quickly and effectively, right through to conclusion. That is why I have asked my staff to ensure that in delivering this element of the asylum system, we ensure it operates well and is managed sensitively.

The DFT team has worked closely with detention services, and has improved processes within the detention centre, to reduce delays in the DFT process. Particularly around the arrangement of interviews for detainees, and in ensuring that relevant healthcare information is shared with appropriate partners.

I am pleased that my officials are working with the Helen Bamber foundation and freedom from torture to identify how the agency might improve the screening process, to assist with identification of victims of torture or trafficking at the earliest opportunity – I understand you heard about this joint work this morning.

We have rolled out the case management suite – Chronos – to all regions. This tool is helping us to deal with asylum seekers’ claims more swiftly and more efficiently, meaning those with protection needs have their claims decided promptly, and can access mainstream social services and support faster.

The UK border agency has begun the COMPASS transition period. Each provider has been issued with a bridging permit to operate, which is the trigger for the gradual movement of service users from current to new providers’ accommodation. The complete package of accommodation and transport services will transfer to the new providers later in August, when the full permit to operate will be issued. The agency has been engaging closely with corporate partners across the regions to ensure all significant impacts and issues are addressed. The UK border agency is grateful for your engagement and involvement.

The case audit and assurance unit has made steady progress in dealing with the legacy caseload. At the end of March 2012, 80,000 cases were in the asylum controlled archive and 21,500 cases were in the migration controlled archive.

The evidence points to the fact that the vast majority of these individuals have already left the UK, and the UK border agency therefore needs to consider the benefit of spending public money pursuing these cases. With the re-introduction of exit checks by 2015 through the e-borders system, the agency will be in a far stronger position in future to ensure we have comprehensive records to tell us when individuals leave the UK.

The UK border agency will continue to manage the controlled archive and by 31 December all cases will have been through data matching with our partners twice, and will have been checked against our own internal databases at least twice. Where these actions reveal new information that allows us to progress the case, it will be transferred to a casework team to conclude any outstanding barriers. At the end of March 2012, the live asylum cases stood at 21,000; this number will increase as individuals are traced.

We have begun the development and implementation of the next generation quality framework, which you have played a significant part in. Under this framework the UK border agency is seeking to deliver a system that monitors and promotes quality, efficiency, professionalism, compliance, and consistency.

The framework will look at the whole asylum process, end-to-end and is designed to focus on those areas where improvements should best be made, such as credibility, as well as capturing best practice and trend information to inform better decision-making, and asylum guidance and instructions in the future. Your engagement so far has been extremely helpful and we will continue to engage you as the framework develops.

The UK border agency has worked with you on projects such as access and information; seeking to improve asylum seekers’ experience of the asylum system and to make the processes easier to understand. We know from that work that whilst there is already a lot of information provided to applicants, it needs to be much more balanced, consistent and focused. And that the agency needs to remove duplication where it exists. I hope that you will continue to work with the UK border agency on this, not only to help develop and implement an efficient suite of advice services, but also to help establish ways of listening to those who use the process day in, day out. The UK border agency needs their help to improve too.
All of these things the UK border agency has done to improve efficiency and deliver value for money to the tax-payer, so that despite the economic climate the agency can continue to deliver high quality asylum considerations, and to ultimately provide protection to those individuals who need asylum in this country.

You play a key role in helping the UK border agency achieve this aim, acting as a catalyst, and stimulating some of the thinking that has led to the development and implementation of these plans.

I know you, and your trustees, judge your success by how well you manage to influence the UK border agency in this forum, and the level or the type of change that results from your engagement with officials. But it is true that in just holding up a mirror to the UK border agency’s work, and the way we run our business, you help us to see things differently and have made a difference. I know that my officials have valued your perspectives.

The joint presentation from the Helen Bamber foundation, freedom from torture and the UK border agency that you had this morning is an excellent example, not only of sharing your perspectives, but also of joint working with the agency in a specific area to improve what the agency does and the outcomes for the people involved.

Going forward we must be realistic. All of us will continue to face challenging times financially and with regard to resources. This will mean a need for a tighter focus in terms of the areas we turn our attention to, and ensuring that we leverage our time and energy on things that will deliver most value, and are of the most importance. Later on today you will be discussing the future programme of work for the forum and the structures that will best support it. I am confident of your continued contribution to ensuring improvements are made to the way in which the asylum system operates.

Damian Green – 2014 Speech to APCC

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Below is the text of the speech made by Damian Green, the Home Office Minister, to the APCC on 21st January 2014.

PCCs are vital in driving reform

It’s been a challenging first year in office for everyone. We asked a lot of you. We asked you to empower communities and hold the police to account – at a time when the economic climate meant we had to make some very difficult decisions about police budgets; and at a time when the reputation of the police has been challenged by the unacceptable actions of a small minority of officers.

But you rose to the occasion. Many of you are tackling these challenges head-on.

You worked hard on behalf of the local communities that elected you. In terms of public awareness and their understanding of your role, undoubtedly you have had a bigger impact in a single year than police authorities did in the decade before that.

Improving services through reform

And we asked you to join us in radically transforming the police– embracing new technology, exploring new ways of collaborative working and driving new ideas to improve policing and increase efficiency. And that is what I want to talk about mostly today – collaboration.

There have been some great success stories so far.

To use an example from my local force, Kent is using Predictive Policing, which combines historic data with predictive algorithms, to identify areas most likely to be affected by crime to help allocate resources and target officers according to demand. So far this seems to have worked well.

Northamptonshire and Cheshire, two forces separated by geography but united in collaboration, have created a joint shared service providing 24 hour HR advice, uniform ordering and admin functions. The two forces had already centralised these functions independently but recognised that joining together and sharing the investment cost would be more cost effective.

West Midlands Police used ‘Priority Based Budgeting’ to re-examine services and challenge ways of working identifying savings of £48.7 million in the process.

And as we have seen recently forces are making increasing use of Body Worn Video. We welcome the use of camera technology to protect the public and to support the police in discharging their duties. Body worn video is a powerful tool and can be used by the police to gather evidence to investigate crime. That evidence could also be used to investigate complaints and hold the police to account, but also evidence I have seen is that it affects behaviour. Officers have said to me that by saying this interview is being filmed then behaviours change. One example mentioned to me was of an individual who was upset at being stopped and his friend started filming the incident on his camera phone. The officer said good I am filming you as well. I hope to see more of this happening.

There are national initiatives also. The National Procurement Hub will enable forces to make purchases at the best prices. Its management information will allow you to judge value for money. The Hub is not yet fully rolled out, but we are ensuring you can access the latest full year information on procurement spend which has been collected for all forces. I would urge you very strongly to use these tools to the fullest extent.

PCC have played a vital role in driving this transformation – working with Chief Constables to ensure services are delivered more effectively and efficiently to the public.

Progress is encouraging. HMIC’s assessment is that the vast majority of police forces are rising to the challenge of reducing budgets while protecting service to the public.

But everybody in this room understands that 2014 is going to be difficult too.

Central government funding for policing will need to reduce by a fifth over the spending review period. And as the Chancellor indicated earlier this month, further spending cuts will be required after the election. We published our provisional grant report before Christmas and, in line with the usual process, we are consulting on it. We will publish our final report early next month.

Let’s be clear though. The sort of transformation we are talking about here is not about this year’s or next year’s budget settlement. It is not about trimming a little fat and hoping that another era of plenty comes along. It is about fundamentally re-thinking how policing is configured so it is efficient and effective for years to come.

We know this can be done. Because it is being done.

Collaboration, blue light integration and rehabilitation

Collaboration

I am pleased so many of you attended the ‘Innovation through Collaboration’ event at the Home Office last month, which gave you and chief constables an opportunity to learn from one another’s experiences of collaboration and to discuss bidding for the Police Innovation Fund.

There is clearly no one-size-fits all approach with collaboration. Equally there is no reason why some forces should be planning less than 10% of their savings from collaboration. That may well be an opportunity missed.

Collaboration is not just about saving money. It is about providing a more effective service. HMIC are reviewing the extent to which forces are meeting the Strategic Policing Requirement in relation to key national threats such as organised crime. On these and other crime threats forces need to collaborate with each other and with the wider public and private sectors.

Emergency services integration

By enhancing accountability you are driving greater effectiveness and efficiency. If it works for policing, it should work for other emergency services, like the fire service. In finding significant scope for reform, Sir Ken Knight’s independent report was clear that fire services could not, by themselves, achieve the required transformational change. The vast majority of fire and police boundaries are co-terminus and over half of police stations in England are within 1km of a fire station. The two services work closely together in more ways than one.

Emergency services collaborating will deliver efficiencies. In Hampshire, fire, police and the county council are joining up corporate services and expect to save around £4 million a year. In Merseyside a joint police and fire command and control centre is being built.

I know that many of you are exploring integration of police and fire.

I want to see more of this. The government will set out in its response to the Knight Review shortly, but I want to be clear now that we want to work with you to build on what is already happening and to drive this forward by removing barriers and unlocking opportunities.

And I would like collaboration to go further. Working closely with ambulance services will bring real benefits. In London, the Met and London Ambulance have created joint response units which are reducing average waiting times for the police from 36 minutes to just 5 minutes. That may not sound like a lot of time, but it has transformed their operations. In Surrey, there is a programme of collaboration between the police, fire and ambulance. Their collaboration will see the three services join forces to find ways of streamlining operations, sharing more premises and delivering joint safety campaigns. It would be good to see you driving similar joint working across the country.

Transforming Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation is another area where reform is urgently needed. For too long there has been a lack of real action on finding sustainable ways to reduce reoffending rates.

It is not good enough that more than 148,000 criminals convicted or cautioned over the last year had at least 15 previous convictions or cautions.

It is not good enough that over half a million offenders had at least one previous conviction or caution.

And it is not good enough that the group of offenders most likely to reoffend – those sentenced to short sentences – are currently ignored by the system and receive no statutory rehabilitation.

That’s nearly 85,000 further crimes committed by a group who walk out of prison with £46 in their pocket, and get little or no support to get their lives back on track and turn away from crime.

That’s why we’re launched the Transforming Rehabilitation programme. This will provide more effective rehabilitation at better value to the taxpayer in a way that is sustainable. We want to draw on all the skills and services that can be offered by practitioners across the public, private and voluntary sectors.

Opening up the market to a range of new suppliers will see innovative ways of working whilst giving the Department the financial flexibility to extend supervision and support to every former offender.

I know that many of you have concerns about the changes, particularly the implications for the existing key local partnerships and accountability.

To achieve their objective of reducing reoffending, providers will need to work closely with local partners – including yourselves.

I want you to have a strong role in the reforms. I welcome the fact that many of you have actively engaged with the Programme to ensure your priorities are understood. We have listened to the concern, raised by many of you, that for the evaluation of bids to fully reflect key local priorities, it needs to include the views of those who have with the expertise and awareness at a local level.

While there can be no formal role for PCCs or any other stakeholder in the evaluation process, the Programme has developed a proposal to establish a forum through which key local stakeholders with the expertise and awareness of local issues can provide advice to the local competition teams.

The local competition teams will be in touch with all PCCs to discuss arrangements for this proposal and I hope this will make it easier for us to work closely with them to make the reforms as innovative and successful as possible.

Innovation and technology – Innovation Fund

Last year we announced an innovation fund worth up to £50m a year to incentivise collaboration, transformation and innovative delivery to improve effectiveness and efficiency of policing. The fund starts in full from 2014/15. But there was the need and readiness to press ahead now with transformation. So we introduced a £20 million precursor fund in 2013/14.

We received, unsurprisingly, a fantastic response. There were 115 bids, for which I would like to thank you all. I was delighted to be able to announce last week that every police force in England and Wales will receive a share of that £20million. And £3.8 million of that funding will be used by six forces to collaborate on proposals to share buildings and infrastructure with the fire and rescue service, saving millions of pounds of public money in the process. A number of other themes emerging from the bidding process for the innovation fund included:

– six forces who will receive funding to enhance public protection and support by investing in body worn camera technology;

– a 24-force consortium who will move public-facing services such as incident reporting, Freedom of Information requests and impounded vehicle release payments online; and

– nine forces who will be using the funding to roll out use of mobile data equipment so officers can access intelligence, take statements and update crime records without having to return to the station – obviously allows them to spend more time on the streets and in communities rather than sat behind their desks.

We were able to approve 65 of the Innovation Fund bids in this round.

Unfortunately we could not approve them all. In a number of cases there were positive ideas with potential to bring about transformation. But further work was needed to understand and articulate the impact of those changes. I hope you will feel encouraged to build on these bids and re-submit as part of future bidding rounds.

We will be announcing the timetable for bidding to the 2014/15 fund in the very near future. In the meantime, we are conducting a review of the precursor fund. In particular, we are considering where the process, communications and criteria might be strengthened to ensure that the fund prioritises bids that truly reflect innovation and collaboration.

I hope the feedback we have provided will help you prepare your bids for next year.

Innovation through technology

And when you are thinking about your bids, or indeed about future ways of working in general, think about the best ways to use the new technology that is available. You may have indulged in the New Year sales. According to the British Retail Consortium there was a 19% growth in internet purchases from a year earlier, the fastest increase in four years. Clearly this has a lot to do with convenience. And avoiding the bad weather! But it is more than that. This amounts to a change in mindset.

Technology is shifting people’s behaviour and expectations of public services. Policing is responding to this. But are we responding fast enough? The re-launched police.uk website gives the public detailed local crime maps. It is a great tool. But in a world of apps that allow you to book your taxi, find out when your bus is coming and do your banking – all on your mobile, having access to data about crimes in their area on line is perhaps regular rather than remarkable. And if people can’t do relatively basic things like report crime on-line, as is the case with the majority of forces, then it is disappointing. There are exceptions like Sussex which allows the public to report crime online and Avon and Somerset which allows the public to track the progress of reported crimes online. In general, I think we would all admit that more could and should be done

There are good foundations. All forces provide information via their website and Twitter. Nearly all forces (95%) provide information via Facebook; and two-thirds via YouTube. In many forces, the public can contact individual officers or specific neighbourhood teams.

These are good examples. But I do not want to limit our ambitions to doing old things with new tools. We want to harness this potential to bring about transformational change. That is what digital policing is about.

Neighbourhood policing illustrates this challenge. Neighbourhood policing improves public confidence and supports crime reduction, by tackling anti-social behaviour right through to national threats like organised crime. And neighbourhood policing is key to building and maintaining police integrity.

HMIC has previously raised concerns that neighbourhood policing is being put at risk by changes driven by cost-cutting. But more recent findings from the College and HMIC suggests that budget cuts need not lead to a withdrawal from neighbourhood policing. So long as you and senior officers remain committed to supporting innovative approaches to delivery, neighbourhood policing can continue to go from strength to strength – and I know many of you are indeed strongly committed to this. The whole point of the new policing landscape is that the Home Office and the Policing Minister does not tell the police how they should operate. But it can play its part. We are giving PCSOs new powers to enhance their ability to support effective neighbourhood policing, and we have consulted on whether any further powers are needed. If you think there is more we can do I will be interested in hearing from you. In the meantime, HMIC will be looking again at this as part of its next Valuing the Police inspection.

Here too we need to think about technology. For example, how does the traditional neighbourhood policing method serve a generation of young people immersed who are immersed in social networks, whose experience of crime might more likely be on-line than in their physical neighbourhood?

More widely, is policing configured for the 86% of people in the UK who, according to the Office for National Statistics, use the internet, or the 14% who do not?

It is not just the public and the police taking advantage of technology. Of course criminals are too. Which is why we are improving law enforcement capabilities to tackle cyber crime, including through developing cyber skills in mainstream policing.

Embedding a culture of innovation in policing

Innovation is vital. But it must become part of business as usual. As you know, the College is working to improve knowledge about effective crime-fighting interventions by developing networks so forces and academics can collaborate. Many of you will be having conversations with universities about potential new approaches. You should also work with the College to share good practice.

I am also keen for the Home Office to support your emerging thinking on the form and function of a Police ICT Company to support forces to use technology in new ways.

A new contract which the Home Office has just awarded for the provision of Evidence Based Decision Support will also help. This is founded on partnership across industry, SMEs and academia. This enables the right team of IT experts to focus on your specific problems before you make critical decisions to invest significant resources so they can support your forces transformation agenda and ensure it is set-up to succeed.

The concept has been proven at the MoD and in Australia. I am looking forward to seeing what it can do for us.

The team is here today and ready to answer your questions over lunch.

A culture of reform has to encompass police leadership. I very much welcome the APCC’s timely review of ACPO. I look forward to working with you and the College to ensure we have the right police leadership structures to fit in with the new policing landscape.

Challenges: integrity, undercover policing, the Fed review and FNOs

I have set out how reform and innovation are tools to enable us to get on the front foot. But some elements of policing will always be about identifying and responding to challenges. I want to talk about some of them. But my point is that a policing profession that is constantly innovating will be better placed to deal with these challenges that emerge.

Integrity

You will, I am sure, share the Government’s determination to improve police integrity. It lies at the heart of the public’s confidence in policing. I know many of you are anxious about reductions to your budgets to resource the IPCC better. We believe the transfer for 2014/15 is proportionate and necessary to allow the IPCC to build capacity and take on additional cases this year. We are providing the IPCC with up to £800,000 from the Home Office budget in 2013/14 for transition costs and a further £10m in capital in 2014/15. The College of Policing also plays a key role in ensuring that all forces meet the highest level of standards in professional behaviour and is committed to delivering the package of measures announced by the Home Secretary to improve police integrity. One important step of this is.

Undercover policing

The alleged inappropriate behaviour of undercover officers in the past has caused concern. The two investigations into those allegations will report shortly, so I will cannot comment further. But we are working to ensure undercover work is done properly.

We have recently introduced legislation increasing the oversight of undercover deployments by law enforcement officers.

Law enforcement agencies must now notify the Office of the Surveillance Commissioners, all of whom are retired senior judges, of all undercover deployments. We have raised the internal authorisation level from Superintendent to Assistant Chief Constable. Deployments beyond 12 months must now be signed off by the independent Office of the Surveillance Commissioners before being authorised by the Chief Constable.

Given the level of concern, the Home Secretary asked HMIC to conduct a thorough review of all undercover policing units. We will consider any recommendations carefully so we can assure the public that undercover operations, which are vital to public protection, are only used when necessary and do not go beyond the realms of decency. We must make sure the public have trust in this very sensitive but very necessary area of policing.

I should also mention the Fed Review.

As you will be aware, the independent review of the Police Federation, by Sir David Normington, published its report yesterday. The review raises some serious issues and we look forward to seeing the Federation’s response. It is important that all organisations have the opportunity to reform their functions and practices and we recognise the important step the Federation has taken in carrying out this review. It is essential that all parts of the policing landscape, including the Federation, have the confidence of the public to act with integrity and impartiality at all times.

One other issue I want to touch on is Foreign national offenders

The level of crime in England and Wales committed by foreign nationals is sizeable and increasing. In 2011/12 the Metropolitan Police arrested over 74,000 foreign national offenders. The scale of the challenge is less well understood outside London. But we are building that evidence for the rest of the country and will share it as soon as we can to help you deal with the problem more effectively.

This is not about picking on people because they are not from the UK. Foreign national offenders are first and foremost criminals. The fact that they are not UK nationals provides us with other options for dealing with them.

For example, from the beginning of this month it has been possible to take action to remove EEA nationals who are not exercising or who are abusing their Treaty rights.

This potentially an important tool but it can only be effective if the police and immigration enforcement work together. We have been providing information to forces on steps the police can take. We will do more in the coming weeks.

Conclusion

There are a huge range of challenges. But just as importantly, we must maximise the opportunities. Overall crime is down to the lowest levels since the Crime Survey for England and Wales started in 1981; victim satisfaction is up and the proportion of officers on the frontline is increasing.

But it’s all our job to ensure crime continues to fall. We want the public to feel protected by a truly 21st century police force. And we want officers to feel they belong to a proud profession.

You PCCs uniquely placed to make sure this happens. That is because you are elected because you best understand the local people’s concerns. You have a responsibility to secure and maintain efficient and effective policing. And you have the opportunity to drive through innovative reforms. I know you are already doing this. I also know it is not going to be easy. You will encounter resistance. But many of you will find willing partners within policing, the Home Office and with policy colleagues.

Damian Green – 2013 Speech at College of Policing

damiangreen

Below is the text of the speech made by the Home Office Minister, Damian Green, on 16th October 2013 at the inaugural College of Policing Conference.

I mostly want to celebrate the opening of the college this morning. But I should also make a short comment on recent developments in the Andrew Mitchell case. The Home Secretary has set out the government’s position on the IPCC statement, and while we wait for the CPS decision I want to comment further on the detail.

The vast majority of police officers do operate honestly; we should also not forget that the police do a dangerous job and put their lives on the line for the public. The Police Bravery Awards, which I will be attending tomorrow, is a testament to the truly courageous and important work that the police do.

But whilst I can say with confidence that corruption and misconduct in the police are thankfully the rare exception and not the norm, where it does occur – that is, in the small minority of officers whose behaviour is entirely unacceptable – it can have a corrosive effect on the reputation of all police officers, undermines justice and fundamentally strikes at the heart of public confidence in the police.

It used to be said that policing was the last unreformed public service.

I don’t think anyone could still cast that aspersion at the profession after the three years of radical reforms instituted by this government. Police and crime commissioners and the National Crime Agency are hugely significant structural changes; the reform of the IPCC will bring about ethical changes; and the empowerment of the public through democracy and transparency are massive cultural changes.

But, as I set out in my speech to Reform earlier this year, change must be a continuous thing. And while there may be landmarks in the process of change, they must be islands along the way in the gradual flow of improvement – not destinations in themselves.

Transform policing

PCCs and the NCA have the potential to transform policing at all levels – from the grassroots work of the neighbourhood officer all the way to the top-level work against international drugs cartels. But that potential will be missed if policing lacks that constant flow of improvement.

And that is where the College of Policing comes in. The most important constituent parts of the police force are, of course, the 200,000 police officers, PCSOs, specials and police staff that make up its ranks. For our structural reforms to reach the heights of which we think they are capable, we need those officers to come along for the ride, to be a part of the continuous flow of improvement, and, at the risk of extending the metaphor, to help in its navigation.

The college will increase professionalism across all levels of policing and give opportunities for all ranks to have their say in how the work will be delivered. I hope that will give officers a new sense of ownership of the profession and a new determination to shape it for the better from within.

But there is another crucial development that I want to see the college help bring about – and that is a transformation in the way policing is perceived by the public at large. Surveys show that public trust in policing remains high despite what has been a difficult year in terms of media headlines.

I am sure police still retain their well-deserved reputation for bravery, dedication, public service and commitment. But is that enough? Are our sights set at a high enough level? Shouldn’t we also want police recognised for their problem solving ability, their ingenuity, their creativity, their intelligence?

The recent flood of applications for a handful of jobs at Wiltshire Police and the 4,000 applications for 200 jobs at Avon and Somerset Police shows policing also still retains its reputation as an attractive career. I cannot draw here on any public polling, but I am guessing those applicants were attracted by the public service elements of the job, the excitement it offered and the long-term stability of the career. I wonder how many of them thought of the opportunities to develop management and leadership skills, the chance to join a dynamic and changing profession and the possibilities of developing transferrable skills that could allow them to move backwards and forwards between high-powered private and public sector jobs.

Ambition

Again, I would ask, are we setting our sights high enough?

I do not think, traditionally, policing has been ambitious enough in this area. And I want the college to change that ambition, to put it on a higher plane, to build a profession that is truly attractive to all. In my constituency duties I am often called upon to speak to students in Years 12 and 13. In these discussions, we sometimes talk about their hopes for the future. In among the usual desires to be a barrister, a doctor, or, even sometimes, a politician, it would be nice to hear more of them speak of their hopes to become a detective, or a chief constable?

We often talk about a need to make policing more representative – especially in terms of sex, race and sexual orientation – and I will return to the general theme later in my speech. But they are not the only differences that make up the rich tapestry of the diverse society that is modern-day Britain. Policing needs to become more representative in other ways too, both culturally and socially.

A huge expansion in higher education in this country has mirrored changes in the jobs market. A university education is now seen as a staple for the career choices of many of our young people. So it is no surprise that 49% of all school leavers now go on to study for a degree. But that aspiration for more education is not being matched in the police, where levels of graduates remain way below the near-half of all young people going to university. Research shows that fewer than a third of those assessed by the police recruitment centre over the last three years had a degree. Of those who went on to pass the assessment and enter the police force, 189 had no formal educational qualifications, with 282 earning a post-graduate degree. Entry to the police is clearly not keeping pace with changes to the country’s education patterns.

Now, some people will say that policing should be a job restricted to graduates only. I am not one of them. Policing is a huge profession which calls for a similarly large range of skills and abilities. And I would never regard academic attainment in itself to be a sufficient qualification for all the challenges that policing holds. But what I would say is that the world has changed. Two decades ago, investigating a computer crime would probably have involved arresting a shoplifter at Dixons. Now it is more likely to refer to a complex internet-based scamming operation, potentially spanning many different countries. There is clearly a role there for people with significant academic ability, ideally those trained in computer science. That is obviously just a snapshot of the challenges faced by modern policing – in the 15 minutes I have to address you I could not hope to encompass them all. But think of the other degree-level qualifications that could assist in a career in policing – economics, languages, management, law.

Great professions

As I said, I would never argue for a degree-level entry to be introduced to policing, but I want the college to turn it into a career that is more attractive to the right sort of graduates. Policing should be regarded as one of the great professions, alongside those of the law and medicine. And as much as I would like to hear sixth form students talking of their ambitions to enter it, so I would like their parents to have that aspiration for their children. The proposals we announced earlier this week on direct entry will make it easier for people with private sector skills (with or without degrees) to bring them into policing at senior ranks and to advance more quickly through the profession. But the real work to make a long-lasting change to the perceptions of policing as an aspirational career choice will come through the college.

Of course, the challenge to the college goes way beyond simply making it a more attractive career option for school leavers. It must also change the culture of policing from within. As well as conducting its core duties of improving overall professionalism, it will lead a transformation in the way police officers do their jobs, and, crucially, how they do their jobs.

The public expects, rightly, only the very highest standards of integrity from police officers. You do not need me to tell you that there have been several incidents that have hit the headlines in the last year where those standards have not been met. The vast majority of police officers do their job with the utmost dedication to the oath they swear when taking the Office of Constable. The College will ensure the small minority who do not reach the required standards becomes even smaller. It is developing a Code of Ethics to underpin policing throughout the profession, one which will be just as relevant to a Chief Constable of 30 years’ experience and a new starter in their first day in the job. The code will have statutory force and will be used as the basis for testing throughout policing careers.

The public also expects policing in Cumbria to be carried out in the same way that it is in Cornwall and that of Norfolk to be the equal of Northumbria. While people might like to see a familiar badge when they greet their local neighbourhood officer, they will have no truck with the 43-force model being delivered in different ways if it means their force is falling behind standards elsewhere. Our police.uk website gives people the opportunity to compare force performance and our introduction of PCCs gives them a way of expressing dissatisfaction if they don’t like what they find. But the College has the ability to ensure those regional variations are few and far between. Experts within the College itself already studying ‘what works’ in policing and will produce a new evidence-based model for forces to adopt. And, crucially, they will identify the best work going on across the country and ensure it is shared swiftly with the other forces.

Taken together, I hope all these transformational elements will help produce a revolution in the way policing is delivered. Although, on reflection, perhaps revolution is the wrong word. Perhaps it would be more apt to describe it as a evolutionary process. For while I hope – and indeed expect – the College to produce far-reaching results, I very much hope they will be delivered in a collaborative way and with all police officers using their skills and experience to help shape the process of modernisation.

And I also hope, to return to my earlier theme, that it will make policing a more attractive profession to all, to make it more representative of the people it serves. So more representative of the proportion of the population going on to degrees and post-graduate education; more representative in terms of race; more representative in terms; more representative in terms of sexual orientation. And this is not just a hope rooted in some sort of politically correct notion of what is right (although clearly this must be right), but also in a selfish notion of what is more productive. For having a police force that more accurately represents the people it serves can only strengthen the link between officer and civilian and that can only strengthen policing.

The College’s Releasing Potential programme should mark a significant step towards these long-running aims and, again, it will be able to share best practice across all 43 forces wherever it finds good work.

You may think my words today have set out an ambitious wish-list. Indeed, I hope you think it is ambitious wish list, my desires for the future of policing require no less than great ambition. We already have a very able police force, one that has produced a drop in crime rates of more than 10% under this government despite the difficult decisions we had to take on funding. But I want an even better police force, one that can continue its recent successes into the future and confront head-on the ever-changing nature of criminality.

And I want the College of Policing to be at the vanguard of that transformation.

Damian Green – 2013 Speech on the Role of Magistrates

damiangreen

Below is the text of the speech made by the Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, Damian Green, on the 14th August 2013.

I’m very pleased to be here at the first of a series of events with magistrates across the country. When we began to think about the role of magistrates, as part of our wider reforms of the criminal justice system, I was adamant that we should involve magistrates themselves as early as possible in shaping our reforms. I want their thoughts and ideas to be at the heart of our policy.

I think that the speed with which the places on these events were booked up is testament to the appetite to engage with the change going on in the Criminal Justice System, and to inform how we go about it.

This government has already made big changes to Criminal Justice:

– we have brought in Police and Crime Commissioners

– we are transforming the way we rehabilitate offenders;

– we’re reforming legal aid;

– and we’ve made important improvements to support for victims.

However we still have much more to do to make sure the system continues to serve the public as well as it should. And the Strategy and Action Plan, which we launched in June, announces wide ranging changes to streamline and digitise the way we work, as well as to make the system more accountable, and more transparent, to victims and to the public.

At this time of significant change in the CJS, this is the right time for everyone to contribute to a debate on how to ensure magistrates remain central to our criminal justice system. We have an opportunity here to both strengthen and widen the role of the magistracy as part of our reforms, and also to use the expertise and unique position of magistrates to help us make the criminal justice system better.

Magistrates in England and Wales play a vital role in our judiciary. In 2011, magistrates’ courts dealt with around 19 out of every 20 defendants in criminal cases. Only 6% of defendants had a trial in the crown court.

In addition, magistrates use civil jurisdiction to help the police and local authorities combat anti-social behaviour and gang-violence; and to protect thousands of children from abuse each year.

Magistrates with their legal advisers and district judges share a breadth and volume of work which is not matched by any other judicial office-holder in England and Wales. They are volunteers, are truly the cornerstone of our justice system. Not only that, they are a model of what a good citizen should be. The 23,500 magistrates are the best of our country. They want to give their skills, expertise and time for the good of others, for nothing. We are lucky to have them, and we should be proud of them.

Our summary justice system was founded with the magistracy at the centre. Magistrates have dispensed justice in their local communities for more than 650 years, since Justices of the Peace Act introduced the novel proposition that decent members of the community, not themselves lawyers, should be vested with the power to administer justice.

That’s not to say that the magistracy hasn’t changed since then. Thankfully, it has. They are a vibrant and diverse group, which much more closely represents the communities they serve. I am particularly impressed by the improvements which have made terms of gender and ethnicity. There is still though more to do to ensure that the magistracy is truly representative of the country.

The role has also changed over time, and will continue to do so, as communities change. But the qualities of today’s magistracy – fairness, good character, understanding of people and the application of sound judgement – have been constant for decades.

Magistrates are impressive people. They perform a vital role, bringing the valuable experience and common sense of ordinary people to the justice system, and devoting large amounts of your valuable time to serving your communities. Volunteering to be a magistrate is a prime example of the kind of commitment from people to improve their own communities that this Government has sought to promote.

But we could be doing much more to make better use of this knowledge and expertise. That is why I want to ensure that we equip the magistracy with what they need to enable them to continue to make a real difference in an ever changing landscape, and ensure that they are used where they can provide maximum benefit.

In my relatively short time as Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice I have seen the considerable problems in the criminal justice system – too many delays, and too much waste. And I am sure that all magistrates must have witnessed this time and time again as they have sat in court over the years.

There would be outrage if fewer than half of hospital operations went ahead on time, or if children turning up at school found that their lessons only went ahead less than half of the time. I can only imagine how frustrated magistrates’ must feel when after volunteering their valuable time, they find that only 44% of trials proceed as planned – not even half of them.

The reforms that we’re making in the Strategy and Action Plan aim to cut out much of the waste, and reduce the delays. I hope that this will mean a more fulfilling experience for magistrates on the Bench, and this also provides an opportunity to make better use of their skills and expertise.

That is why today I am launching a piece of work that will involve them directly in developing a new statement of the role of the magistrate.

Of course a magistrates core role is, and will remain as judicial office-holders, dispensing justice for the benefit of the communities they serve. That won’t change. However, I am keen that we should maximise the value which they bring to those communities, and to emphasise the value that the Government places on their services and skills.

In order to make sure that we maximise the value of magistrates and get their role in a twenty-first century justice system right, I want to ask them three questions:

How do we ensure that Magistrates are dealing with the right cases in court?

The time magistrates spend in court should be focussed on those cases where they make a real difference to their communities. Their core skills of deciding on bail, fact-finding and sentencing should be put to best effect.

For example, three magistrates needn’t spend time rubber-stamping foregone conclusions in simple road traffic cases where the defendant doesn’t contest the matter, and doesn’t even turn up. One magistrate could deal with this much more efficiently in an office.

That’s why we announced that we will be legislating to remove those cases from traditional courtrooms, so that magistrates can focus their time in court on the more serious and contested cases which best use their skills.

For some the obvious way to keep more cases in magistrates’ courts will be to increase their custodial sentencing powers, and there is an attractive logic to this. However, there is also a risk that this could cause additional pressure on the prison population, because sentencing practices could change.

We have done some work analysing the potential impact of increased powers – as have the Magistrates Association – and we agree on the numbers involved. We perhaps disagree on how easy it could be to realise any savings and on the costs of additional prison places. So we will keep the case for increasing magistrates’ custodial sentencing powers under review and in the meantime we will retain on the statute book the provisions that enable the increased powers.

Our priority at the moment though is to tackle the unacceptably high reoffending rates – especially reoffending by those serving custodial sentences of less than 12 months. We have already announced our intention, in the Offender Rehabilitation Bill, which is currently before Parliament, to ensure all adult offenders are supervised for at least 12 months on release from prison. This means introducing new licence and supervision measures for offenders serving short custodial sentences.

These proposals also include a new role and powers for magistrates to deal with offenders who breach the conditions of their supervision. That means courts will have powers to deal with those who fail to comply with their supervision conditions, including being able to commit an offender to custody for up to 14 days.

We want to work with magistrates to deliver these new provisions, to get right the training and support they need to deal with these offenders and to involve them in how we rehabilitate offenders.

Around 40% of defendants that are convicted in magistrates’ courts and then committed to the crown court for custodial sentences receive no more than six months imprisonment. These are cases which magistrates could have sentenced; no, these are cases which magistrates should have sentenced; they already have the skills, capability and powers to do so. This is why I want to work with magistrates to find out why these cases are being escalated, and address that. This is particularly important for young people, where the Youth Court is set up specifically to deal with children involved in criminal proceedings, whether as witnesses, defendants or both.

We also need to get the balance right at the lower end of the spectrum as well. There is definitely a place for out-of-court disposals in ensuring justice is brought in cases which may otherwise not have come to court and as a proportionate response to some low-level offending. But we need to make sure that it is only these cases which are getting out-of-court disposals, and that all cases which should properly be brought before a court are brought to court.

There is a role for magistrates in scrutinising the police’s use of out-of-court disposals, and I am pleased that the Senior Presiding Judge supports this, and has recently issued guidance, encouraging magistrates to get involved.

These are some examples of where we can bring more of the right cases in front of magistrates, but there is more that we could do and I want to hear Magistrates suggestions and views.

This brings me onto my next question, which is:

What other ways are there for Magistrates skills and experience to be used for the benefit of their communities?

In the Offender Rehabilitation Bill we are giving magistrates more powers to help reduce reoffending. I am also very pleased to hear Magistrates are getting involved in their communities’ Neighbourhood Justice Panels, and in scrutinising out-of-court disposals; taking their valuable experience from courtrooms and using them in new and different settings.

I want to explore whether there are other appropriate roles, compatible with Magistrates core role as judicial office-holders, which would benefit from their knowledge and experience, and help to reduce crime and reoffending, and make communities safer.

Another area where Magistrates have become much more involved in recent years is in community engagement. Activities like the Magistrates in the Community initiative, the Local Crime: Community Sentence project, and the National Mock Trial Competition which John Fassenfelt of the Magistrates’ Association recently informed me about, help to strengthen the links between courts, communities and the wider justice system. They build public confidence in sentencing, and teach young people about the law and the way that the justice system in England and Wales operates.

These are great examples of the sort of local justice that we need to move towards – visible and continuous engagement with communities, working with local criminal justice agencies to understand the issues that affect those communities, and what can be done to resolve them. I want to make sure that we are doing everything we can in this area, and that we are taking every opportunity we have to raise public understanding of summary justice. I’d like to hear Magistrates views on what more we could be doing help the magistracy forge closer links with their communities.

And my last question is:

How can we ensure that Magistrates are in the driving seat of improving performance of the justice system in their communities?

I’d like to hear views on how we could harness Magistrates experience to help us improve the performance of the CJS.

The CJS needs to work in partnership to improve performance and provide a better service for victims. Not through top-down targets and measures but through a common understanding that a well performing criminal justice system is good for victims, is good for communities, and is good for the rehabilitation of offenders.

Back in February, I launched a set of seven shared outcomes for the CJS. We developed them with practitioners across the system and this has enabled us, for the first time, to state clearly a common view of what we are all working towards:

– to reduce crime;

– to reduce re-offending;

– to punish offenders;

– to protect the public;

– to provide victims with reparation;

– to increase public confidence, including among victims and witnesses; and

– to be fair and just.

I would like to have a discussion about what magistrates role is locally in making these outcomes happen, for the benefit of the system, and for the benefit of their communities.

There has been some great work so far; stop delaying justice is a sentiment we can all support. Delay is bad for the victim, bad for the accused and bad for justice itself. Magistrates are central to the success of our justice system and initiatives designed to improve the way cases are managed should have the training and support of JPs at the heart of them. This I believe is true of the Stop Delaying Justice programme which began last year and enters its second phase this summer, and is why I am really impressed with the way in which the magistracy and wider judiciary have taken the initiative with this work.

I know that the magistracy is already working locally to change listing patterns to enable the police to present a greater range of cases in court, releasing the CPS to concentrate on the more serious and complex cases. This is another great example of where I can see Magistrates working effectively with the wider CJS to improve the way that the justice system works in all our areas.

Those are the three questions that I would like to put to magistrates today.

This work is the start of a new way of working with the magistracy in matters which affect summary justice. That is why we are holding these events now, at the beginning of the policy process, to ensure that it is their thoughts and ideas which form the heart of our policy building a world-class justice system.

Today we are also launching – for the first time – an online tool that will allow magistrates to put forward ideas on how they can become more involved in their communities to make them safer. Crucially the tool will allow magistrates to collaborate and develop these ideas so we can come up with a shared solution.

This is an exciting time of change for criminal justice. And I want to involve as many magistrates as I can in helping us to shape their role in the 21st Century. I know that in 650 years the role of the magistracy in England and Wales has changed as much as society has, but magistrates are still as important and highly valued as ever. Magistrates have been an essential part of the backbone of a successful society for centuries, and the changes I want to bring about will strengthen that vital role.

Damian Green – 2013 Speech at the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners Events

damiangreen

Below is the text of a speech made by Damian Green at the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners event on 23rd January 2013.

Introduction

I would like to thank the APCC for inviting me to speak to you today.

I’d like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Paul McKeever, the chair of the Police Federation who sadly died last week. Some of you may have known Paul – I  did for a short time – he was a dedicated police officer and chair of the federation and my condolences and thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues at the federation.  The federation has its differences with the government, but Paul was always willing to listen to our views as we were his.

We are in the midst of the most significant and wide ranging programme of reform to policing. And you – the first Police and Crime Commissioners – are at the heart of this change.

Benefits of having a single association

I know that the APCC have been seeking your views on how best they can assist you to play a full part in shaping and leading this wide ranging programme of reform at the national level. When I spoke to you a few months ago I talked about the clear benefit of having a single representative body that acts on your behalf and in your interests at the national level.

Clearly how that body is formed and what it does, is for you to determine. But, as one of the individuals likely to be most affected by such a body – and you may not catch me saying this once I feel the impact of such a body-  I see no better way of ensuring, during this period of significant change, that your collective voice can be heard and acted upon at all levels. Particularly obviously inside central government.

I am of course realistic, you won’t always be able to speak with one voice, but as many of you will know  MPs from all parties manage to come together on issues that require collective change and so do local councillors. So there are times when I expect you will see the value over coming together irrespective of your political backgrounds or particular views.

The local government association obviously represents councils of every colour so it is an example of how a desire to improve services for the public and influence national policy has gone beyond political divisions.

You have a powerful mandate. You are the voice of the public on policing and crime in your force areas and through a single body you will be able to amplify that voice at a national level.

Already, we have been consulting on a new pay review body and many of you as individuals have contributed to this important process. But on top of the value of these individual responses, that he will rightly take full account of, I was very grateful to receive the formal response from the APCC which demonstrated to me that there was indeed a consistency in your individual responses, and most importantly that when presented as a collective, they really do make a very direct impact.

So, there will be clearly times when it is in your interest to talk with a shared voice and these will increase over time.

New initiatives

Before the elections last November some people questioned what impact PCCs would make. I am glad to stand here today and say that already due to some of the decisions you have taken, and your dedication and drive, those voices have started to fall silent.

The public can already see evidence of innovative, and in some cases, radical ideas and initiatives , from you and your offices to tackle crime, the causes of crime, and to promote the police service in your communities.

It is simple: these positive developments, developments that will make a real difference to people’s lives in the communities you serve, would not be happening without you.

Some of the most recent ones that have struck a chord with me are:

The impressive amount of engagement that is happening with the public in setting plans and priorities;

Plans, for example in Dorset, to set up community and victims forums for the public to raise issues about policing;

The setting up of a youth commissioner in Kent;

Plans in Staffordshire to explore recruitment of 200 new special constables and unlocking millions of pounds tied up by the force’s failure to sell its former HQ.

Each of you will have other examples of how you are making a difference that I would like to hear about.

Of course there was great work going on before the elections and many of you will already be drawing on what works for your area.

Effective practice esp. IOM

It is also impossible not to mention the huge amount of engagement that you are doing with partners across the criminal justice system and beyond.

I know that many of you are ahead of the game and in the acronym you are using, PCC, the ‘C’ is important as well – you’re not just police commissioners you are crime commissioners as well.

In many areas the police, working closely with probation, prisons and other partners, have put in place local arrangements to tackle offending under the banner of Integrated Offender Management.

These arrangements bring a joint focus on the offenders who commit the most crime locally, or whose offending causes the most damage to the local community. Through effective joint working in this way, many areas have been able to turn around the lives of some of the most difficult and chaotic prolific offenders, whose offending obviously had such a negative impact on local communities.

If there aren’t such arrangements in place in your area, you may have already be asking: ‘why not?’.  And the opportunity to share best practice is another benefit of coming together in forums like this.

When we all work together, which is at the heart of the IOM approach, we can all make the best changes for the greater public good.

For our part, the government has set out its commitment to supporting these approaches as part of the reform proposals set out in the consultation paper ‘Transforming Rehabilitation: a revolution in the way we manage offenders’.

And I know that you will be a powerful and new voice in the dialogue which will form the process of consultation.

Looking ahead, I hope there are plenty more opportunities for innovation. One example is the work being done to create the new Police IT company.

Police IT Company

Whenever I meet police officers, one of the first things they complain about is the poor IT in many forces.  I am sure that in your conversations with officers they will have made the same point to you.

We all know that technology and communications is a vital part of front line policing and in implementing change.

With significant cost pressures, many forces are now increasingly using digital and mobile technology to improve operational performance and as a lever for wider business change.

With police forces spending over £1bn per annum and employing over 4,000 ICT staff.  I believe that the Police ICT Company gives you the opportunity to secure critical services for your force, to accelerate innovation and to help to make savings.

This is your Company, set up to deliver what you want for your force. But to get this company to work in the way you want, you need to take control. The choice is yours but this is an opportunity for you to take ownership.

I hope you see this as a real opportunity to achieve tangible results by working together. I urge you to take up the offer of the Company and use ICT as an enabler to keep officers on the front line.

College of Policing

There are obviously a number of challenges facing the new College of Policing and one is helping the police become more like the totality of Great Britain.

The recently released Census figures for 2011 show how our society is changing faster than ever before.  The police must be able to respond to the needs and aspirations of this more diverse society.

I am struck by how far we still need to improve representation of women, black minority ethnic populations and other protected groups in the police, especially at senior levels.

And I also want to see the wider culture of the police strengthened so that it becomes more open, more inclusive and welcoming to people from all backgrounds.

Police forces must also be better able to relate to the communities they serve. This is a key area of building trust and confidence in local communities.

My firm belief is that the police must take ownership for these issues. I am therefore pleased that the newly formed College of Policing, which will have responsibility for standards in the police, will be a key driver for this work.

In the spring they will release a new equality strategy for the police.  I hope that many of you can engage with the development of this strategy.

I know that there is a huge interest from you collectively in the College and I welcome this.   It will have an essential role in professionalising policing. There are a limited number of places for formal involvement on the board, but I will be encouraging the College to look at what else you can do to get involved.

Funding

Moving onto the key subject of money, you will all now be aware of the provisional police funding allocations that were laid in Parliament on 19 December.

First we decided to protect the police from further reductions to Departmental budgets for 2013/14 that were announced in the Autumn Statement.

Secondly we will protect the police from reductions announced by the Chancellor in November 2011 relating to public sector pay restraint. Without this protection on pay restraint, central government funding for the police would have been reduced by £66m in 2013/14.

These two decisions mean the police will receive the same amount of total government funding in 2013/14 that was agreed at the 2010 Spending Review, giving you confidence as you make your plans.

I hope you welcome that and some of you already have but I understand you will have concerns about funding allocations in 2014/15. You will be aware that the Chancellor announced a further 2% cut to Departmental budgets. As mentioned in my Written Ministerial Statement, we have decided to defer publication of police funding allocations for 2014/15 in order to fully scrutinise all Home Office budgets and see what can best be done.

The other key funding decision that was announced was on damping. As you know the government held an informal consultation on this. In deciding how to apply damping over the next two years we took account of the concerns expressed by respondents who called for a full review of the Police Allocation Formula before changing damping policy, given that the two are inextricably linked. This is why the Home Secretary will be commissioning a fundamental review of the Formula.

I know you have strong views on this, and some of you have already raised them with me, so we are obviously keen to hear your ideas on this and we will engage with you as part of this review.

I recognise that the funding settlement remains challenging. But as HMIC have made clear, police forces have risen to the existing financial challenge, cutting spending while largely maintaining the service they provide. The proportion of officers on the frontline is increasing, crime continues to fall – a point often lost in the wider policing debate, victim satisfaction is up and the response to emergency calls is being maintained. I am confident that you can build on this and continue to push your forces to drive out waste while maintaining and improving the level of service that the public receive.

Despite inheriting the largest peacetime deficit, our decisions regarding funding for 2013/14 demonstrate that we are committed to ensuring that the police continue to have the resources they need to carry out their important work.

Looking now at pay and conditions, you will have seen last week our decision to accept the recommendation of the Police Arbitration Tribunal (PAT).

This includes proposals around pay scales and allowances.

This represents another more step forward in what amounts to the most radical overhaul to policing pay and conditions for 30 years.

But these reforms are not yet complete.

We remain committed to the principles and objectives set out in the Winsor Review, in particular to the modernising of management practices and to developing the vital link between pay and professional skills.

This is something that the College of Policing will take forward in line with the timescales recommended in the Winsor review.

We want to ensure that the police are able to draw on the best pool of talent available to strengthen the workforce. And I am also determined to ensure that police forces are able to attract the brightest and the best, at all levels, including senior levels.

We are convinced of the merits of enabling the most able people to join at senior ranks to open up the culture of the police to outside experiences and perspectives and will be consulting shortly on the development of effective direct entry and fast track schemes for talented individuals.

This is about opening up the police to promote a diversity of experience and professional skills at all levels.

And I am also committed, as I know you will be, to ensuring that the police set the best example of integrity.

Police integrity

With the publication of Giving Victims a Voice, the report on the Jimmy Saville case, the issue of police professional standards and integrity has once again come to the fore.

We touched on this issue briefly at the PCC briefing event, back in December. I’d like to return to it today while we are considering how to address police integrity at the national level.

This also seems an especially appropriate moment, given that so many of you are engaged in recruiting new chief constables.

You will have received the guidance on recruiting chief constables from the College of Policing that was sent out in November, together with the note on vetting requirements. I’m sure I don’t need to remind you that you have a responsibility to assure yourselves of the integrity of anyone you are considering appointing as a chief constable.

But I should however remind you of the need to establish their formal vetting status – the note sent to the APCC, as well as Chief Executives and communicators, gives contact details should anyone like further advice on this matter.

The integrity and professional behaviour of chief constables and their senior teams are the foundation of public confidence in policing.

This is an area where you can make an impact locally, providing clarity to your communities about what they have a right to expect – that they will be treated fairly, honestly and with respect.

Both the public and officers need to see the senior team leading by example. Underpinning this, there also needs to be comprehensive and rigorous governance – of integrity as well as finance and other issues – to provide the mechanisms by which professional standards can be monitored and enforced.

Recent reports from HMIC, the IPCC and Transparency International have all highlighted a lack of consistency between forces in, for example, applying guidelines on hospitality.

Integrity is one aspect of policing in which there should be no room for local variation.  It is so important that clearly every force, every officer needs to maintain the highest standards.

Working with you

I am in no doubt that the British police force is committed, dedicated and well respected. I know we all want to ensure that we keep it like that.

And as I look forward to how we are going to make this happen, I know that working with you and the APCC will be key to our success.

But what is also important is how we will do this. And I think this means speaking with you regularly without dragging you to London, eating into your valuable time and the public purse.

I have asked officials to work with your offices and the APCC to come up with ways we can do this making the most of technology such as video conferences to maximise our time and minimise the effort we spend in making these meetings regular and as convenient as possible for all of us.

You are only a couple of months into your new roles, but I have no doubt that by this November both you and I will be reflecting on where we have succeeded and identified areas where we must continue to work together, in order to realise a modern, trusted professional police service that not only ranks as the best in the world, but is indeed the leading standard for policing.

It is a great and important goal and I very much hope that together we can achieve it.

Damian Green – 2012 Speech to the Police Superintendents' Association conference

damiangreen

Below is the text of a speech given by the Minister of State for Policing and Criminal Justice, Damian Green, to the Police Superintendents’ Association conference on 12 September 2012.

Thank you very much for inviting me to speak to you today.  It’s always daunting as a ,inister to come to speak to an audience containing so much experience and expertise, and that is particularly the case after only a week in the job.

Like many other people I have had many experiences of police activity, when I have been a victim of crime, or when I have seen police in action in maintaining public order.  I also, famously, have some experience of police action which is perhaps unique for a Police Minister – I have been arrested, and this guarantees that I am not disposed to uncritical admiration of everything done by all police officers at all times.

What I can guarantee is that during my time in this job I will be a candid friend of the police.  I want you to succeed in your job, because it is vital to a healthy society, and the best way I can help is to listen, learn, and express my own views clearly.  We may not always agree, but I will always be willing to engage and discuss.

I am sorry that I wasn’t able to join you for the sessions and discussions that you have had this morning.  I have been in Coventry meeting with Chris Sims and West Midlands Police. I can confirm that as of 11am this morning the streets of Coventry were entirely peaceful and orderly. I was interested to see what they are doing with technology to make themselves better at their job by much better use of technology and various initiatives.

Heart of our police force

I am particularly pleased that my first major event and speech as Police Minster is to one of the police staff associations.  You, as key leaders of policing and as police officers, are the heart of our police force.  Yesterday I know the Home Secretary praised your professionalism and dedication, and I straightforwardly want to echo those sentiments.  This professionalism and dedication is particularly valued as you drive change within your forces.  And there is a lot of change taking place.

I accept that this is a challenging period for officers and the force as a whole, and I understand that there is some suspicion about the changes we have made and are continuing to make.  I am not here to tell you that I will be slowing the pace of change or reversing decisions that have been made – the reform of policing is too important for that – but I hope that we can all follow Derek’s call to ‘move on’ from these changes and the debates and arguments of the past and work together to build a strong police force in the public interest.

To that end I want to put on record our thanks for all the work that you and your colleagues have done to address the challenges so far.  Despite necessary reductions in budgets, crime is down and, as Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary has said, the service to the public is largely being maintained, response times have held up and victim satisfaction is improving.  This is down to the dedication and professionalism that officers and leaders like all of you show every day.

I know that inevitably, everything that has happened, all those changes, have dominated the conference over the last couple of days.

Today I want to talk to you briefly about some of the themes of professionalism and public confidence underpinning the reforms that have been made, and what I think the benefits will be.  But before moving on I want to be clear that even after  reform of structures and pay and conditions police officers will continue to be among the best paid of the public services, retiring earlier than most and with pensions that are among the most generous. But is equally worth saying that this is right, to reward the exceptional job that you do.

Reducing bureaucracy

The Home Secretary has been determined to restore discretion to the police and to enhance professionalism, and I am equally committed to this agenda. The proper use of discretion is important for all ranks of the police, but it is essential to you as superintendents.  It is a prerequisite to reducing bureaucracy and to end the culture of the Home Office – the Police Minister, Home Secretary, officials – looking over your shoulders as you make decisions.  I want you to be able to get on with the job they joined the force for: fighting crime, and you can’t do that if you’re tied up in red tape and bogged down by form-filling.

I am please that great strides have already been made in this area which could see up to 4.5 million hours of police time saved across all forces every year, but I want to see more done to build on this. That is one of the things I am keen to drive through as police minister. This morning I spoke to Chris Sims, the ACPO lead on reducing bureaucracy, about what more we can do.  We’ve changed a lot from the centre, but we have to work with forces, and with you, to identify where further improvements can be made.

This agenda to restore discretion goes hand in hand with that to improve professionalism.  At the outset, it’s important to say what the professionalism agenda is not about.

It’s not about criticising you or saying that the way you have been doing your jobs up to now has been fundamentally flawed.

And it’s not about making policing a graduate profession.

But it is about accepting that the threats we face have changed and that to support the new landscape, and particularly the increase in your discretion, we need to continue to develop skills and ensure that they are properly recognised and rewarded.

College of Policing

Key to this work will be the creation of the new policing professional body – the College of Policing.  The College will be established by the end of the year, taking on functions from the NPIA and ACPO business areas, with a powerful mandate to enable the service to implement the required standards for training, development, skills and qualifications.

And, crucially, it will be independent of government, with a board made up of representatives from across the ranks, with PCCs and independent members helping to give advice and improve accountability.  And, as the Home Secretary said yesterday, the Chief Executive will be a senior officer.  I was pleased to learn on taking over the post of Police Minister that work on the College has been progressing well over the summer, and I’m grateful for the engagement of the Superintendents’ Association during this.

The other key part of the drive to develop professionalism and restore discretion is considering and taking forward the recommendations of the Winsor review.  I know, even in my very short time in this role, that you have concerns about some of these proposals.  But the principles supporting these changes are important.  If we are to properly support professionalism we have to value the skills that officers, using their warranted powers, gain to carry out their roles.  A pay system that rewards time served, rather than skills and professional development cannot do this.

Yesterday the Home Secretary spoke about the benefits of these proposals to you as operational leaders: the signals you can send to your officers and staff and the flexibility that you will be given.  And these benefits will flow to all officers and to the public, because it will support the central aim of policing: to cut crime.

And that relationship between the public and police is where I’d like to end my comments today.  You all know that it is a relationship that needs to be won every day, by every action and decision an officer takes.  Contrary to what some people think, confidence in the police has been steadily improving, but too many people still feel disconnected from their local force, thinking that policing is something that happens to them, rather than something they need to engage with.

That is why I am excited about the elections for Police and Crime Commissioners taking place on 15 November.  Public awareness of the elections is increasing and people are now starting to talk about policing priorities in their areas, often in a way they haven’t before.  You will always be the ones taking the operational decisions, but with a directly elected figure, accountable to the community they represent, the link with the public will be renewed.

We all know a healthy society requires the police and public to be at ease with each other, and the triumph of the policing operation at the Olympic and Paralympic games is testament to this. I visited the Olympic Park several times but it was not just there, it was everyone involved in the torch relay, the spectators and they were only able to throw themselves into the spirit of the games because of the work that dedicated officers were doing quietly behind the scenes.  The fact that no one mentioned public order during the Olympic period is a huge testament to the success of the operation that police all over the country were involved with. You were essential to helping deliver a safe, secure and enjoyable Games that did prove to be one of the best things to happen to this country for many decades. This easier relationship between the police and the public needs to be one of the legacies of the Games.

But it is not just for you as leaders or individual officers or forces to work to win this confidence, as elected representatives politicians have a duty to help build this too. So I look forward to working with you, and getting to know you, and my door will always be open to representatives of policing.  I also want to get out to meet with you and hear your concerns by visiting forces around England and Wales.  I visited Coventry with West Midlands Police this morning, so I only have another 42 forces to go.

I want to thank Derek for his contribution as president.  I know that he has been a source of good counsel for Ministers, and I look forward to working with Irene and continuing what has been a very important relationship that the Home Office has with the Superintendents’ Association.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Steve Williams on becoming chair-elect of the Police Federation.  In my briefing I note that he is a trained hostage negotiator; I was pondering that and I’m sure he will find it a useful skill.

I know many people have said that this is an opportunity for a new start and personal relationships will be very important and I am more than happy to do what I need to do to ensure we have a creative, constructive, evidence based dialogue. That is the way to make progress. Of course we will not always agree, reform and change is always a painful period for all involved but we need to have those discussions on a regular basis.

It is true that we have a dedicated and professional police service, and I am excited about the future of policing in this country.  At a time of great change the central mission for policing remains the same: to cut crime.  And as Police Minister I will always support you to do this, in the interest of the people of this country.

Thank you.