Policing for the future Contents


This wide-ranging report examines changing demands on policing, and considers the extent to which the service is able to meet the challenges that these create. We look first at changing trends in crime and policing and the overarching problems facing the police service in England and Wales, such as funding and investment; then at three specific areas of growing pressure on policing—online fraud, child sexual abuse, and safeguarding vulnerable people; and finally at the wider, cross-cutting reforms that are required.

Our inquiry has found that police officers across the country continue to perform a remarkable and immensely valuable public service, often in the most exacting of circumstances. However, figures on police welfare paint a picture of a service under serious strain, and we conclude that forces are badly overstretched: the number of traditional volume crimes is rising, but the number of arrests and charges brought by the police is falling.

Policing is struggling to cope in the face of changing and rising crimes, as a result of falling staff numbers, outdated technology, capabilities and structures, and fragmented leadership and direction. Without significant reform and investment, communities will be increasingly let down.

We found that:

We make a number of specific recommendations about three growing areas of demand: online fraud, child sexual abuse, and safeguarding vulnerable people. Whilst the police and Home Office have worked together very effectively on investment and reform to counter the changing terror threat, in these other areas in which demand is changing, they are struggling to respond. We reach the following conclusions:

Drawing on over 90 pieces of written evidence and nine oral evidence sessions, we also reach a number of overarching conclusions about the future of policing in England and Wales, which must be addressed with urgency if the police service is to meet the challenges of the 21st century:

Published: 25 October 2018