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Kennedy warns against return to ‘damaging’ Whitehall police targets

March 9, 2021 10:54 AM
Originally published by Surrey County Council Lib Dems

Paul Kennedy outside Guildford Police StationCllr Paul Kennedy, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner, is calling on Priti Patel not to impose centralised crime targets on local police forces, warning it "would be a grave mistake" that "risks seriously undermining" police officers.

In a letter to the Home Secretary, Paul Kennedy, alongside the party's Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael and 26 other candidates for Mayor or Police and Crime Commissioner, writes that "the police need to be responsive and accountable to their local communities, not micromanaged by Ministers in Whitehall."

The Guardian recently reported that the Home Office has discussed with police chiefs plans to set targets for reductions in certain types of crime, "in return for government providing the money for 20,000 new officers".

The Liberal Democrats argue that the Government should instead be focusing on "ensuring that police forces can restore proper community policing, where officers are more visible, trusted and known personally to local people."

Paul Kennedy, Liberal Democrat candidate for Surrey PCC, said:

"Making local police officers chase arbitrary targets handed down from Whitehall won't make our communities in Surrey any safer. All it does is waste police time and undermine public trust and confidence.

"The Government must abandon these plans. What people in Surrey really need are more police officers with the resources and time to focus on preventing and solving crimes."

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael added:

"It seems Priti Patel is the latest Home Secretary who thinks she can do the police's job better than local police chiefs and officers on the ground.

"This is yet another example of Conservative Ministers trying hard to seem tough on crime, but failing to do what works to actually prevent it.

"That's why the Liberal Democrats are opposing these plans for damaging centralised targets and urging the Government instead to work with local forces to restore proper community policing."