Richard Garside cached version 10/02/2019 05:01:39 en Do more police mean less crime? <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Labour and the Liberal Democrats are both pledging an increase in police officer numbers. Are these plans a welcome investment or a symbolic bit of electioneering?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A key policy challenge is not recruiting more police officers, but using the time of existing officers more effectively. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/West Midlands Police. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>There are around 20,000 fewer police officers across England and Wales than there were in 2010. Does that make us less safe? Are our homes more likely to be burgled? Are we more at risk of assault, or worse?</p><p>Awful recent events in Manchester and South London have sharpened the debate about police officer numbers in relation to terrorism. But what about the more conventional and common victimisations that it is supposedly the job of the police to tackle?</p> <p>Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats have gone into the General Election promising more police officers. Labour claims that cuts in officer numbers “<em>endanger communities and endanger police officers</em>”. The Liberal Democrats pledge to “<em>increase community policing... to reverse the increase in violent crime</em>”.</p><p>Labour proposes to recruit “<em>10,000 more police officers to work on community beats, equivalent to at least one more for every neighbourhood in the country</em>”. The Liberal Democrats are pledging “<em>an additional £300 million a year to local police forces to reverse the increase in violent crime, boost community confidence and increase the flow of community intelligence</em>”. Are these plans a welcome investment in public safety, or a largely symbolic bit of electioneering?</p> <p>Back in 1984, two Home Office researchers – Ron Clarke and Mike Hough – wrote a paragraph that has gone down in policing studies folklore:</p> <p class="blockquote-new">“given present burglary rates and evenly distributed patrol coverage, a patrolling policeman (sic) in London could expect to pass within 100 yards of a burglary in progress roughly once every eight years – but not necessarily catch the burglar or even realise that the crime was taking place."</p> <p>Various echoes of this striking formulation have been heard down the years. In <em>The Times</em> in November 2009, for instance, the then President of the Association of Chief Police Officers, Sir Hugh Orde, wrote that it was “<em>quite scary if people who are claiming to represent communities see the solution simply as more cops on the street while all the evidence shows that if you’re a patrolling officer the chance of coming within half a mile of a burglary is about once every 150 years</em>”.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">An additional 10,000 police, costing £300 million a year, would equate to 20,000 fewer burglaries annually, or £15,000 for each burglary prevented.</p> <p>A review for the Inspectorate of Constabulary in 2011 found some evidence of an association between police officer numbers and property offences. It estimated that “<em>a 10 per cent increase in officers will lead to a reduction in crime of around 3 per cent</em>”. Labour estimates that the annual cost of its additional 10,000 police officers will be £300 million, equal to the Liberal Democrat proposal. The <em>Crime Survey for England and Wales</em> estimated that there were 664,000 domestic burglaries in the 12 months to December 2016. Putting these figures together, we might say that an additional 10,000 police, costing £300 million a year, would equate to 20,000 fewer burglaries annually, or £15,000 for each burglary prevented. That’s an expensive way of making a few houses across the country more secure.</p> <p>So what is to be done? A study by the College of Policing in 2015 found that 84% of calls to the police were related to non-crime incidents: notably concerns over an individual’s welfare. This suggests that a key policy challenge is not recruiting more police officers, but using the time of existing officers more effectively. As Theresa May told the Police Federation conference in May 2015, when she was still Home Secretary, police officers are "<em>not social workers... mental health nurses, or paramedics</em>".</p> <p>Rather than recruiting more police officers, whichever party or parties form the next government would be better advised to rebuild those social services – such as mental health, housing support, social work, youth work – that have been decimated by years of austerity. That way, a smaller police force could be left to concentrate on the 16% of calls they receive that are actually about law-breaking.</p> <p><em>Richard Garside’s assessment of the main crime and justice manifesto commitments can be read here: <a href=""></a></em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openjustice/will-mcmahon/we-dont-need-more-police-we-need-shift-of-responsibilities">We don&#039;t need more police, we need a shift of responsibilities</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openJustice uk openJustice Richard Garside Tue, 30 May 2017 14:39:48 +0000 Richard Garside 111266 at This market isn't working. UK government contractors exploit secrecy and weak competition <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The government keeps taxpayers in the dark about billions paid to private contractors. A Parliamentary watchdog demands transparency and proof that competition exists.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>"Government spends £187 billion on goods and services with third parties each year, around half of which is estimated to be on contracted out services." So claims a report by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC), published last week, on the&nbsp;<a href="">contracting out of public services to the private sector</a>.</p> <p>'Estimated' is the operative word here, for a cloak of secrecy shrouds government contracts. The Public Accounts Committe, whose job is to ensure that the public gets value for money, notes:</p> <p>"Too often the government has used commercial confidentiality as an excuse to withhold information, often in response to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests from the public and MPs."</p> <p>Greater openness in government contracts — "transparency, not commercial sensitivity, as their default position" — is one of the committee's five 'areas for improvement' in the way government does business.</p> <p>The MPs also calls for greater competition in the market for government business:</p> <p>"Some private sector providers have grown significantly in recent years, often through buying up competitors or other organisations in their supply chain... But the government has not analysed directly the implications on the operation of the marketplace, and on the delivery of public services. Some public service markets, such as for private prisons, asylum accommodation or the Work Programme are now dominated by a small number of contractors, and the government is exposed to huge delivery and financial risks should one of these suppliers fail. At the very least, limited markets lack the competition required to ensure that taxpayers get the best deal."</p> <p>The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies' own research in this area, published in the&nbsp;<a href="">latest edition of&nbsp;<em>UK Justice Policy Review</em></a>&nbsp;(UKJPR), backs up this claim.</p> <p>As the figure below suggests, the marketplace in contracted out services in relation to prisoner escort, prison management and electronic monitoring is dominated by two companies: G4S and Serco.</p> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none_left 0'><a href="// to NOMS.jpeg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="// to NOMS.jpeg" alt="" title="" width="400" height="450" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p> <p>If we were to put a positive gloss on this, we might say that beneath the two dominant companies is a diversity of smaller providers that in principle could contribute to the development of a competitive marketplace.</p> <p>But who are Bridgend Custodial Services, the third largest company in the figure, or Fazakerley Prison Services, the fourth largest?</p> <p>If you have never heard of them, don't worry. Nor had I until we started looking at the data. Both are better known for the prisons they run: HMPs Parc and Altcourse respectively. They are also part of the G4S network of companies, as are Onley Prison Services, which runs HMP Rye Hill.</p> <p>What about Moreton Prison Services, Lowdham Grange Prison Services, Pucklechurch Custodial Services and BWP Project Services? These companies are responsible for, in order, HMPs Dovegate, Lowdham Grange, Ashfield and Thameside. All are part of the Serco empire.</p> <p>Agecroft Prison Management, Ashford Prison Services and Peterborough Prison Management are part of another outsourcing company - Sodexo - and run HMP/YOI Forest Bank, HMP Bronzefield and HMP Peterborough.</p><p><span><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none_left 0'><a href="// 3 Combined operations figure.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="// 3 Combined operations figure.jpg" alt="" title="" width="400" height="414" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span>Once we unpick this complex network of companies, the G4S and Serco stranglehold on the market is even more apparent: accounting for three quarters of the contracting pie. Sodhexo comes in a distant third, with 16 per cent of contract value.</span></p> <p>The data we used to draw up this analysis is partial in a number of respects. It includes only contracts with a value of more than £25,000.</p> <p>And it stops at October 2012. In response to a Freedom of Information request by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies the government claimed it intended to release more recent data. None has been forthcoming.</p> <p>Data problems aside, it provides as good a sense as any of the current state of the marketplace in prison and probation services: one dominated by a couple of multinational companies with tarnished reputations.</p> <p>As the government continues to press ahead with plans to privatise the probation service, this only adds to concerns that there are simply not enough credible and experienced organisations out there that can competently undertake the complex work involved.</p> <p>Apart from the one that already exists of course. It's called the <a href="">probation service</a>.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><hr /><p>This article appears concurrently on the <a href="">Centre for Crime &amp; Justice Studies</a> website.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/shinealight/jonathan-gray/secret-government-contracts-undermine-our-democracies-lets-stop-them">Secret government contracts undermine our democracies. Let&#039;s stop them</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/shinealight/richard-garside/g4s-and-serco-overcharging-scandal-just-got-worse">G4S and Serco overcharging scandal just got worse</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/shinealight/clare-sambrook/fail-and-prosper-how-privatisation-really-works">Fail and prosper: how privatisation really works</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/shinealight/richard-garside/resist-government-s-obsession-with-men-in-uniform">Resist government’s obsession with men in uniform</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/shinealight/frances-crook/transforming-probation-or-wrecking-service-that-works">Transforming probation? Or wrecking a service that works?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/shinealight/frances-crook/who-wins-at-payment-by-results-ask-shareholders-at-serco-company-running-b">Who wins at ‘payment by results’? Ask shareholders at Serco, the company running Britain</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/shinealight/andrew-neilson/g4s-loses-contract-handing-prisons-to-any-commercial-contractor-is-grave-">G4S loses contract. Handing prisons to any commercial contractor is a grave mistake</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/shinealight/jonathan-gray/britain-shines-light-of-transparency-on-secret-lobbying-just-kidding">Britain &#039;shines light of transparency&#039; on secret lobbying. Just kidding.</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Shinealight uk ShineALight G4S: Securing whose world? Prisons & child prisoners Shine A Light Richard Garside Mon, 17 Mar 2014 00:03:21 +0000 Richard Garside 80336 at Resist government’s obsession with men in uniform <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The United Kingdom’s over-reliance on policing, prosecution and punishment is socially harmful and economically wasteful. There are more just and effective ways to make us safer.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img src="//" alt="" height="439" width="460" /></p><p><img src="Constable_Apprehending-2.jpg" alt="" width="460" /></p><p>After its&nbsp;<a href="">bruising report</a>&nbsp;on the government's plans to privatise probation in England and Wales, the House of Commons Justice Committee continues its&nbsp;<a href="">inquiry into crime reduction policies.</a></p> <p>On Tuesday I gave evidence to the Committee, alongside Ben Page from Ipsos-Mori, Professor Andromachi Tseloni of Loughborough University and Professor Mike Hough of Birkbeck, University of London.</p> <p>The session ranged over a number of issues: the importance of looking at crime in its variety, rather than&nbsp;fixating on 'overall crime'; public opinion and the role the tabloid media; and the relatively small impact the police and prisons have on crime. You can&nbsp;<a href="">watch it all here</a>.</p> <p>In the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies'&nbsp;<a href="">written evidence to the Committee</a>&nbsp;we argued that there was considerable scope for a reduction in criminal justice spending and a strong case for downsizing the criminal justice system.</p> <p>Our three reviews of government spending between 1999 and 2009 &mdash; on the&nbsp;<a href="">police</a>, the&nbsp;<a href="">prison and probation services</a> and the&nbsp;<a href="">Crown Court and magistrates&rsquo; courts</a>&nbsp;&mdash; point to a notable increase in criminal justice expenditure.</p> <p>Spending on the police in England and Wales grew in real terms by 50 per cent between 1999 and 2009. In the case of the Prison and Probation Services there was a real-terms spending growth of 36 per cent between 2004 and 2009. Expenditure on magistrates&rsquo; courts grew in real terms by 17 per cent from 1998/1999 to 2003/2004 and by 31 per cent from 2005/2006 to 2008/2009. Expenditure on the Crown Court increased by 10 per cent in real terms from 2005/2006 to 2008.</p> <p>These generous spending increases financed growth in these services, though this growth was uneven. Police numbers grew significantly while their caseload stabilised. Prison numbers and probation caseloads grew more quickly than budget growth, putting significant strain on both services. Per prisoner expenditure declined in real terms from 2006. Frontline probation staff numbers declined after 2006 while caseloads grew. Magistrates&rsquo; courts&rsquo; caseloads and staffing declined from 2006 while Crown Court caseloads grew from 2005.</p> <p>The current squeeze on public spending presents an opportunity to resize the various criminal justice agencies in a manner that delivers real social benefit and leaves those services in better shape. This would involve a general downsizing of the criminal justice system: fewer arrests; fewer prosecutions; fewer prisoners; fewer probationers; fewer criminal justice workers, whether police officers, judges and magistrates, prison and probation officers or others.</p> <h3>Downsizing criminal justice and public safety</h3> <p>What would the effect on public safety be of a downsized criminal justice system? Across a range of concerns &mdash; child abuse, sexual assaults, violence, road traffic offences, fraud and corruption to name but a few &mdash; we hear calls for more, not fewer prosecutions. Surely a downsized criminal justice system would make us less, not more, safe?</p> <p>There is no simple response to this quite understandable concern. Many may agree that far too many people needlessly end up in prison. Expecting widespread support for fewer prosecutions for child abusers, sexual predators and dangerous drivers, on the other hand, is a different matter.</p> <p>That said, there is little if any academic evidence to support the proposition that rates of imprisonment, police numbers or policing strategies can explain falls in crime. This has been corroborated by the National Audit Office report,&nbsp;<em><a href="">Comparing International Criminal Justice Systems</a></em>, which found &ldquo;no consistent correlations&rdquo; between official crime rates and the numbers in prison across a range of countries. The National Audit Office noted that prison &ldquo;is very expensive&rdquo; and questioned &ldquo;aspects of its cost-effectiveness&rdquo;.</p> <h3>Policies that promote greater safety</h3> <p>Most of the effective policies that can promote greater safety are not, ultimately, criminal justice ones.</p> <p>The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies'&nbsp;<a href="">comprehensive review of gun and knife crime strategies</a>&nbsp;cast doubt on the effectiveness of police-led approaches. We found that effective strategies typically were holistic, engaging with the big questions of disadvantage and social exclusion, as well as addressing individual, familial and neighbourhood problems.</p> <p>Research published a couple of years ago found an interesting correlation between the early 1970s raising of the school leaving age from 15 to 16 and reduced rates of property crime. The trend towards more young people staying on for longer in education is a good thing in itself. It might, incidentally, also result in fewer of them getting into trouble with the police.</p> <p>The reduction in the child poverty rate over the past decade is an important and welcome development that has enhanced the lives of many thousands of children and their families. It could also help to explain the reduction in the number of young people coming to the attention of the police.</p> <p>There are many things a government can do to encourage a safer society, less riven by conflict and victimisation. Most aren't badged 'crime reduction' or delivered by a man in a uniform.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/shinealight/mike-guilfoyle/gambling-with-public-safety-privatising-probation">Gambling with public safety: privatising probation</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/shinealight/frances-crook/pregnant-teenager-imprisoned-for-failing-to-keep-appointments-with-her-sup">Pregnant teenager imprisoned for failing to keep appointments with her supervisor</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/shinealight/clare-sambrook/strip-searched-in-derbyshire">Strip-searched in Derbyshire</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/shinealight/carolyne-willow/many-thousands-of-children-stripped-naked-in-custody-ignites-memories-of">Many thousands of children stripped naked in custody. Ignites memories of being raped</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/shinealight/richard-garside/g4s-and-serco-overcharging-scandal-just-got-worse">G4S and Serco overcharging scandal just got worse</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Shinealight uk ShineALight Prisons & child prisoners Shine A Light Richard Garside Thu, 30 Jan 2014 00:00:14 +0000 Richard Garside 78897 at G4S and Serco overcharging scandal just got worse <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Two outsourcing giants who tagged and monitored ex-offenders charged British taxpayers tens of millions of pounds for doing nothing. A new report reveals flagrant and systematic abuses, ahead of executives' interrogation by Members of Parliament today.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>Earlier this month,&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">in the briefest of press releases</a>, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) announced that it had initiated a criminal investigation into security companies G4S and Serco, following allegations that they had overcharged on electronic monitoring contracts. A few months earlier both companies had&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">pulled out of bidding</a>&nbsp;for the next generation of such contracts.</p><p>Yesterday the National Audit Office (NAO)&nbsp;<a href="">published a report</a>&nbsp;on the matter.</p><p>According to the NAO report, the Ministry of Justice first identified anomalies in data provided by G4S earlier this year, as part of preparations to retender the electronic monitoring contracts. Not satisfied with the G4S explanation the Ministry called in accountants PwC to conduct a forensic audit of the G4S contract.</p><p>PwC began its work in May 2013, subsequently expanding it to cover the Serco contract in addition to the G4S one.</p><p>The audit identified three charging practices that are at the heart of the dispute between the Ministry on the one hand and G4S and Serco on the other.</p><p><strong>1. Charging based on orders vs charging based on subjects</strong></p><p>One individual (the subject) can have more than one order imposed upon them. Even though each subject is monitored only once, Serco and G4S appear to have charged for each order, something the Ministry argues they should not have done. For example, Serco monitored one subject with four separate orders, charging for each order being monitored, rather than just for the subject.</p><p><strong>2. Charging a fee after electronic monitoring has ceased</strong></p><p>Serco and G4S were continuing to charge a monitoring fee when individuals were no longer being monitored. Examples cited in the report include:</p><ul><li>An individual sentenced to two years' imprisonment for breach of curfew conditions in September 2011. G4S removed the monitoring equipment in the same month. However, by May 2013 it was still charging a monitoring fee, at the cumulative cost of around £3,000.</li><li>In another case Serco charged monitoring fees for over two and a half years after equipment had been removed following a breach of bail conditions.</li><li><strong><br /></strong></li><li><strong>3. Charging monitoring fees whether or not monitoring equipment had been installed</strong></li><li>Serco and G4S have been charging from the formal start of the monitoring period even if monitoring equipment has not been installed. In most cases this might have resulted in an extra day of charging. However, the NAO observes that 'in some cases equipment was never successfully installed but charging nonetheless occurred for months or even years'.</li></ul><p>In an example cited by the report Serco tried unsuccessfully to install monitoring equipment at an address on multiple occasions between July 2008 and April 2012, charging some £15,500 over the five year period, despite the fact that the monitoring equipment was never installed.</p><p><strong>Monitoring into the next millennium</strong></p><p>One of the most striking paragraphs in the report covers the different, and rather arcane, matter of determining end dates in relation to bail orders:</p><blockquote><p>'Although Serco and G4S used different management information systems, our&nbsp;understanding is that both systems required an end date for an order to be entered so&nbsp;that those systems could function properly. As bail orders typically did not have specified&nbsp;end dates that could be entered both providers chose arbitrary end dates as standard,&nbsp;on the basis that otherwise there was a risk that orders might have been closed down&nbsp;before an appropriate authority requested that this occur. In the case of G4S this was&nbsp;set as being the year 2020, and in the case of Serco the year 3000. This meant that&nbsp;charges on individual cases could have continued until an end date was formally notified&nbsp;by an appropriate authority.'</p></blockquote><p>Taken together these practices were rather lucrative. The NAO reports that potential overcharges could be in the region of 'tens of millions of pounds'. G4S have offered to repay £23.3 million — in the form of credit notes, an offer the government has, apparently, declined. Serco has said that it will 'refund any agreed overcharges'.</p><p>A further audit of the contracts is currently being undertaken. Both companies also continue to face investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.</p><p>This should all provide extra spice to what was already shaping up to be compulsory viewing for policy anoraks everywhere: the appearance this afternoon of G4S, Serco, Capita and Atos executives&nbsp;<a href="">before the powerful House of Commons Public Accounts Committee</a>.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><hr /><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>This article was first published at the </em><a href=""><em>Centre for Crime and Justice Studies</em></a><em>.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/shinealight/ellie-butt/when-companies-charge-taxpayer-for-monitoring-dead">When companies charge the taxpayer for monitoring the dead</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/shinealight/andrew-neilson/tagging-ex-offenders-is-not-all-it-s-cracked-up-to-be">Tagging ex-offenders is not all it’s cracked up to be</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/shinealight/mel-kelly/police-magistrates-and-prisons-by-g4s-is-this-what-british-people-want">Police, magistrates and prisons by G4S. Is this what the British people want?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/shinealight/caroline-molloy/what-is-g4s-doing-in-englands-nhs">What is G4S doing in England&#039;s NHS?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Shinealight uk ShineALight G4S: Securing whose world? Prisons & child prisoners Shine A Light Richard Garside Wed, 20 Nov 2013 08:15:02 +0000 Richard Garside 77087 at Richard Garside <div class="field field-au-term"> <div class="field-label">Author:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Richard Garside </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-au-surname"> <div class="field-label">Surname:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Garside </div> </div> </div> <p>Richard Garside is the director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies and senior visiting research fellow at The Open University.</p><div class="field field-au-shortbio"> <div class="field-label">One-Line Biography:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Richard Garside is the director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies. </div> </div> </div> Richard Garside Tue, 19 Nov 2013 17:36:37 +0000 Richard Garside 77088 at