All public organisations need to be held to account for the ways in which they carry out their duties on our behalf. Robust accountability mechanisms ensure that organisations perform to a high standard and are responsive to the needs of the public they serve.
This report argues that the police service in England and Wales suffers from an accountability deficit. At the national level fragmented governance means that no actor in the system has the power to effectively incentivise performance improvement or drive through change and reform. Recent attempts by the Government to increase control from the centre through target setting and top-down initiatives have had limited success and have made policing even less responsive to local needs and circumstances. At the local level there is no real democratic accountability: police authorities are weak, unaccountable and remote, while elected local government has no effective say over local policing priorities.
This report sets out the consequences of this local accountability deficit for police performance and identifies six options for reform.
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