Police Superintendents Association Prevention is Better than Cure

Monday, 29 April, 2013

In response to the inaugural public speech by the Chief Inspector of Constabulary Tom Winsor, Irene Curtis, President of the Police Superintendents Association of England and Wales has made the following statement:

I welcome and agree with many of the comments made by Tom Winsor in relation to his understanding of the role of the police service, in particular the fact that he acknowledges the police deal with far more than just criminal matters, such as mental health, and that crime prevention is not the sole responsibility of the police.

I am also pleased to hear he acknowledges that, on the whole, the police do a good job.

In relation to his comments about crime prevention, I would suggest that the service has had a strong crime reduction focus for many years, indeed some crime rates are at their lowest for over 30 years. Those reductions have been achieved as a consequence of a number of factors, of which crime prevention is but one. Catching offenders is also a contributory factor to this crime prevention effort, and it is particularly effective when combined with an effective offender management programme.

Crime prevention and catching offenders should not be viewed as mutually exclusive. It's important to do both. But I do believe that a short review of what crime prevention actually means in the new policing landscape would be helpful - this should move beyond the traditional crime prevention roles and incorporate aspects such as early and family intervention in which the police have a role to play, but not necessarily the lead role. There is a need for agencies across the public sector to look at what they can contribute to crime prevention for the benefit of society as a whole.

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