UK

Police Performance Targets Cause 'Dysfunctional Behaviour' And Should Be Curbed Says New Chief Superintendent

18/03/2013 07:04 GMT

Performance targets for the police cause "dysfunctional behaviour" and should be curbed, the new president of an officers' group has said.

Chief Superintendent Irene Curtis, who took up the post as head of the Police Superintendents' Association today, said there is still too much focus on meeting targets.

She said: "Despite assurances from the current Government about the removal of central targets there is still a really strong performance management culture in the service, which has created a generation of people who are great at chasing targets but do not always recognise that doing the right thing is the best thing for the public."

Speaking as she became the first woman to take up the full-time role as president, she said forces should not be dominated by the need to meet targets.

"I'm proposing a return to common sense policing which focuses on doing the right thing for victims and the public," Ch Supt Curtis said.

"This would include freeing up the performance management framework from targets that lead to increased and often disproportionate audit and compliance work and dysfunctional behaviour.

"There is an urgent need to develop a more trusting performance management culture in the service. It's important that forces have measures to help them to understand how they are performing, but they should not be dominated by targets."

Her comments came after a damning report into a sex crime unit in Southwark, south London, where target culture was blamed for a failure to properly investigate rapes.

Victims were pressured into giving retraction statements, which meant that the alleged crime had not taken place and boosted detection rates.

Those whose claims were ignored included a woman who made an allegation against Jean Say, who went on to murder his two children.

The sex assault allegation against him was dismissed by a detective sergeant who said the circumstances did not constitute rape because the woman "consented".

A report on the failings was published by the Independent Police Complaints Commission last month.

Deputy chairwoman Deborah Glass said: "The pressure to meet targets as a measure of success, rather than focusing on the outcome for the victim, resulted in the police losing sight of what policing is about - protecting the public and deterring and detecting crime."