Examination of Witnesses (Questions 460
THURSDAY 7 MARCH 2002
460. Would you not agree that the reality is
that community wardens, street wardens, are policing on the cheap?
(Dr Henig) I think that they can actually play a valuable
role. Having seen the six recycled, as I call them, traffic wardens
in Lancaster, they are actually doing different things. The sorts
of concerns that people voice to them are very low level issues.
Some of them are not really policing issues, they are the sorts
of concerns which people may not have passed on to the police
but would have made them feel unhappy, they would have felt discontented.
These wardens are actually addressing issues which the police
may or may not be addressing but certainly not addressing very
fully and I think, therefore, they are playing a different role.
I think they are playing a very important role in addressing the
environment, the quality of the environment, within which the
police are operating. I think that they are not necessarily policing
on the cheap but they are an extension, if you like, of a reassurance
461. Are the Lancashire recycled traffic wardens
still part of the police family?
(Dr Henig) Well mine are, mine are employed by the
police because at the moment traffic wardens are employed by the
462. These recycled ones, are they still part
of the police?
(Dr Henig) They are employed by the police as such.
463. Are they going to continue in the future
to be employed by them?
(Dr Henig) Well, what is happening at the moment,
as I say, there is an evaluation by the University. We are going
to find out what the public think about it, whether they are happy
with the service, whether it needs to be changed and anyway we
are going to do a full evaluation and then decide what the way
464. Would it be possible for the Association
of Police Authorities to send the Committee a note of what the
43 police authorities have done and are planning to do? Quite
clearly what Lancashire are doing is totally different from what
Essex is doing.
(Dr Henig) Yes.
465. We might as well get the best practice
there is and see what is happening between the two bodies.
(Dr Henig) One of our Committees, which is called
Partnerships and is chaired by the person who chairs North Wales
Police Authority, is precisely engaged in this area, looking at
partnerships, and has recently asked all police authorities to
furnish information about the warden schemes in their area for
precisely the reasons actually that you have just put forward,
to see what best practice is, what works, what is happening around
the country. So we are collecting that information.
466. Are any of the street wardens or community
wardens which have been introduced so far privatised policemen?
Are they Group 4, Securicor or are they all part of the democratic
(Dr Henig) Ours in Lancashire are local authority
wardens or they are wardens who have been accredited in conjunction
with the police so we have not got anywell, no, actually
that is not true, the West Lancashire scheme, some of the wardens
there have been recruited from the private sector but the police
have vetted them and the police have overseen the way in which
the scheme has been set up. So it has been a partnership.
467. Finally to ask this question, we are getting
so many different sorts of wardens, private sector, public sector,
local authority, proper police officers, do you not think there
ought to be some sort of distinguishing uniform which can separate
the proper police officers from all the rest because in daylight
it may be difficult, in dusk and night, people want to know whether
they are dealing with a proper police officer or Group 4 or whoever?
(Dr Henig) Again, to me, that is a local issue. Our
wardens in Lancaster have very distinctive yellow jackets, very
clearly marked "warden" and there has been a clear operation
to make sure people know who they are, what their job is. I do
think that if we do believe in local accountability then different
local areas should be allowed to have the schemes that most suit
them. It is our job to sell that I think and to make people aware
of what is happening, how it is being delivered and what role
people are playing, I think that is what we need to do.
(Mr Peel) Chairman, may I make one point clear. In
Essex the decision to pass the traffic wardens across was not
a police authority decision.
468. I appreciate that.
(Mr Peel) What happened was the local authorities
themselves said they wanted to see parking decriminalised. The
police actually opposed it, we opposed it but we did not win that
day and hence we are now passing all the traffic wardens across
to the local authorities. It was not a police authority decision.
Mr Russell: That is a fair point. The Hon. Member
for Colchester agrees with the police.
David Winnick: Press release.
Mr Russell: I agreed a long time ago.
Chairman: Right. Now there are some miscellaneous
matters. Mr Watson.
469. Can I just say on a personal note, I am
sure that chief constables quiver when they have got the two of
you in their authority because there is not a lot you have missed
in this. Is there anything in the Bill that you would like to
see included that has not been listed?
(Dr Henig) Yes. Can we mention one item that we would
like to raise actually which is not there and we would like it
to be there. We would very much like to see the repeal of the
Riot Damages Act.
(Dr Henig) It is something that we have made representations
about and we are disappointed that the Government has chosen not
to use the opportunity to repeal what we regard as a very archaic
piece of legislation. Can I say that we have come to this view,
and we wrote to the Minister already five months ago, well before
the situation had arisen in Bedfordshire but I think the Bedfordshire
situation reinforces our strongly held view that whereas in 1886
this may well have been appropriate legislation, certainly it
is not appropriate in 2002 to make police authorities responsible
financially for any kind of disturbances that may happen to take
place in the area. That is a piece of legislation that we would
471. Anything else?
(Dr Henig) The second issue we would like to see in
the Bill that is not there at the moment is we would like police
authorities to be statutory partners in the Crime and Disorder
Reduction Partnerships, the local community safety partnerships.
There is a provision to bring in health authorities as statutory
partners. We have been pressing for some time for police authorities
to be statutory partners. In a number of parts of the country
they are there, not of right but we have made sure we are there
but it is not true of all parts of the country. Given the evolving
importance of the local agenda, and particularly I am thinking
of local strategic partnerships, these are to some degree going
to cut across if we are not careful the policing plan and the
financial responsibilities that police authorities have because
the local strategic partnership will have the local Crime and
Disorder people there and we have to make sure everybody is pulling
in the same direction. So we have asked for police authorities
to be statutory partners and we were very much hoping that this
might be one point on which the Government did not feel that it
would be too difficult to agree perhaps.
472. If I can take you to police pay and conditions
which I know vexes a lot of people. To what extent do you think
the pay and conditions package will impact on police reform? Will
it affect the delivery of reform if that bit is not got right?
(Dr Henig) Can I make a general point. I do not want
to go into the detail of this. It is quite clear to me, it is
quite clear to anybody that given what happened last week on the
pay and conditions in the vote, clearly this decisive vote was
delivered by the Police Federation. The issue for me is the issue
of confidence. I think that at the moment, for whatever reason,
rank and file are lacking confidence. I think if you want to take
people forward in a process of reform, and a lot of us have done
it perhaps in different arenas at different times, people have
got to have confidence in you. Once they have got confidence in
you, you can go forward together and implement reform. I think
the problem now is that clearly there has been signalled a lack
of confidence and that is then going to make it perhaps more difficult
to move forward in the way that we would have liked. I do not
want to go into the details because clearly at the moment the
package is now in conciliation and I would not want in any way
to undermine that.
473. In terms of rising police confidence it
has been said that we need reform to raise confidence in the first
place because the institution we have now does not allow the flexibility
that modern policing requires.
(Dr Henig) I go along with that. I come at this from
a number of different points of view. There is a general trend,
and has been for the last few years, to try and increase productivity
in the public sector, to make people in the public sector across
a whole range of areas, if you like, more productive, work harder,
and I am coming at this from the education sector but it has been
a general trend. By and large people will go forward if they have
confidence. If they feel at the end of the day that things will
be better, that there will be an improvement in the way things
are delivered, that the quality will improve, in my own case that
students will benefit or in other professions that services will
improve in quality then I think people will move. I think they
need that confidence. My worry at the moment is that confidence
has got to be built up because the reform will not be effective
unless there is confidence.
474. Would an increased pay offer increase that
(Dr Henig) I am not sure that it is all to do with
pay actually. I think there are wider issues. When the Police
Federation were making the point about police officers having
been perhaps talked about in terms of being lazy or not doing
their job or whatever, I think there was a general sense they
were being got at, that perhaps in some way they were being devalued.
I am not sure it is just a pay issue, I think that is an element.
I think if you are trying to increase people's productivity, and
as I say this is a general point, there is going to be a morale
issue and that has to be addressed in some way. I am not against
reform, I support a lot of the reforms, but if we are going to
make them work we have got to address the confidence issues because
otherwise I think there will be a danger that people will then
fight the reforms and they just will not work.
475. Taking pay out of this reform package,
have you managed to do any guess work, and I understand that it
is only estimates, about what the actual cost of implementing
these reforms would be?
(Ms Leech) We have done some very broad thinking about
that. It is difficult because, as written on the face of the Bill,
there are enabling measures and, thereforeI do not want
to repeat the conversationsthe amount of funding that is
put into that will depend on the way it is made available and
so on. We have tried to reach an estimate on that but it is difficult
because of that reason and because, frankly, we are in parallel
trying to run a process around the spending review. We have made
our best estimate of the additional cost of the reform package
over and above the existing known pressures on police authorities
in any case over the next five years and in addition to some of
the other things that are outside the reform package that the
Government wants to take forward. We have tried to put all of
those things together in our spending review submission to the
Home Office and we hope the Home Office will be arguing that case
to the Treasury over the next few weeks and months.
476. Have you got a figure off the top of your
head or will we be able to see the information that you have submitted?
(Ms Leech) I do not have a figure off the top of my
head. May we perhaps give you a note on that.
477. That is very helpful. One last clarification
on my cars point again. Did you actually say there is an audit
of vehicle purchases in police authorities?
(Ms Leech) No.
478. And there is no current national purchasing
(Ms Leech) I believe there may be one or two regional
479. No national ones?
(Mr Peel) There are regional ones but not a national
Mr Watson: That is very helpful.
1 See Appendix, Ev 159-162. Back
Note by witness: We have made a very broad-brush attempt
at this, and our figures suggest that initial costs may be at
least £700 million with on-going costs of at least £1
billion. These figures include major expenditure items such as
investment in IT and infrastructure but equally exclude significant
proposals currently under discussion including improvements to
the wider criminal justice system. Back