Talking tough, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel on Wednesday issued an ultimatum to police chiefs to get on with the task of curbing crime as she pledged an additional 41.5 million pounds funding towards combating violence on the streets of Britain.
Patel, one of the senior-most Indian-origin ministers in the UK Cabinet with overall charge for policing as home minister, warned that her approach to the task would be non-negotiable with no excuses permitted.
“You sit at the very top of policing and it is your job to work with us all to help drive crime down… these outcomes will be non-negotiable, and I will be unapologetic about holding you to account,” she said in a key speech to the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners and National Police Chiefs' Council Partnership Summit 2020 in London.
The minister said the success of the new methods and investment being put in place by the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson led government would be measured against a set of national policing outcomes, with priorities including reducing murders, serious violence and neighbourhood crime.
“Crime will not go away overnight, so we are making a long-term investment in our exceptional police. I'm still listening to what you need. So today I'm pleased to announce an additional 41.5 million pounds surge funding to help 18 forces drive down the scale of the violent crime we are seeing in our streets,” she said.
The tough-talking minister, however, stressed that the extra injection of UK taxpayers' money being put in by the government must deliver the crime cuts that are desperately needed.
"In three years' time, when the 20,000 additional officers are through the door, the people will want to see a difference. Less crime. Safer streets. No excuses. The public won't accept excuses, and neither should we,” she said.
Patel, who announced plans for a new crime and policing performance board to set “outcomes” or targets, admitted that confidence in the country's criminal justice system had fallen as there were fewer police visible on the streets.
Therefore on the operational side, she pledged lower levels of bureaucracy for officers to be able to get on with their jobs as “visionary crime fighters, not pen pushers”.
“As warranted officers your primary focus must be on pursuing and tackling offenders. Stopping serious violence, car crime and theft,” she said.