strategy to cut crime and measure police performance.
From April, all police authorities will include challenging crime
reduction targets in their Best Value Performance Plans, aiming to
The five-year targets will provide the most far-reaching yardstick to
date for measuring progress on reducing the two crimes which are of
major concern to the public.
In addition, five large metropolitan authorities (Metropolitan,
Greater Manchester, Merseyside, West Midlands and West Yorkshire)
which account for 70% of all robberies, will set targets to cut
And, from April, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary will
begin pilot inspections at Basic Command Unit (BCU) level.
Announcing the provisional targets set by the police authorities,
Mr Straw said:
'Since 1997, overall recorded crime has fallen by seven per cent -
with domestic burglary falling by 20% - while the number of criminals
successfully convicted has increased.
'Yet England and Wales remains one of the most crime-prone
jurisdictions in Western Europe across a wide range of offences.
We must - and we can - do better.
'For the first time, there will be a meaningful target regime which
police forces themselves will own, driving up morale and performance.
And for the first time, people will be able to measure the success of
the fight against crime in their own backyards.
'Inspections will also be carried out at BCU level as well as force
level by HMIC who will be working with the Audit Commission, and
about 50 police divisions, to identify the critical success factors
that make for a good police division. From April 2001, HMIC hope to
extend this to all 320 BCUs.
'At a national level, if these targets can be delivered vehicle crime
will be cut by 30%, and domestic burglary by 26%.
'Tackling crime and disorder is at the heart of the government's
commitment to build a better Britain. By modernising the system and
raising performance we can make a real difference in the fight
against crime and disorder.'
Today's announcement builds on work already undertaken by the home
office to pursue, and measure, the fight against crime at a local
1. Recorded crime is now measured at the basic command unit or
divisional level within police force areas to give a more accurate
reflection of local crime. The Audit Commission will undertake a
thorough review of the organisation of basic command units to
ensure delivery of the best possible policing service to the
2. The confirmed five-year crime reduction targets to be set by
each police authority will come into effect from April 2000. These
will be calculated from the forthcoming recorded crime statistics
for April-March 1999/00