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David Davis: Flanagan Review a shocking indictment of Labour failure

Responding to Jacqui Smith's statement on the Flanagan Police Review, Shadow Home Secretary, David Davis, said:

"I thank the Home Secretary for advance sight of her statement.

I am glad to say it was not lost in the post.

I would also like to thank Sir Ronnie for his invaluable contribution to the debate on police reform.

I agree with Sir Ronnie's assessment of the state of policing in Britain today.

Does the Home Secretary?

Does she recognise, does she accept Sir Ronnie's candid assessment of ten years of failed policy.

Policy that has left the police and I will use Sir Ronnie's own words subject to 'peverse incentives',

'a slave to doctrine and strait jacketed by process'?

Police spend a fifth if not more of their time on bureaucracy. Officers wade through a 'raft' of targets.

And that is just what he was allowed to say.

The earlier draft, widely reported, including the things we were not allowed to hear.

Why does the Home Secretary dispute Sir Ronnie's estimate that our police forces face half a million hours worth of audit inspection every year?

On what basis did she delete references to the devastating effect of and again in Sir Ronnie's own words

'top down management', the 'proliferation' of process, 'declining public confidence'?

And Sir Ronnie's finding that her over-centralised government is 'part of the problem'?

We can agree with many of the recommendations in the Flanagan report.

But then again we have been calling for a fundamental overhaul of police bureaucracy for years.

And we've had more police reviews from this government than we've had Home Secretaries.

Let's look at specifics.

The Home Secretary has indicated support for increased civilianisation of police functions. We introduced civilianisation 15 years ago.

And we made some sensitive and sensible proposals a year ago.

Can the Home Secretary tell us her response to the President of the Superintendent's Association, who said this morning that there was a limit to the scope for civilianisation in a large number of forces?

If she wants to make a real difference, she should adopt the whole Conservative agenda….

Scrapping forms starting with the stop and account and the stop and search forms.

Slashing targets not just fiddling with them and the army of auditors that go with them.

Strengthening police powers of stop and search to respond decisively to incidents or threats of knife, gun and drug crimes.

Reversing the health and safety rules, rules that wrap officers in cotton wool and put the public at risk.

The Home Secretary can go further will she adopt our proposals to put the police back on the beat?

Revise RIPA so that the police do not spend up to seven and a half hours form-filing before they can stake out a known burglar's house.

And restore police charging discretion so that they spend less time waiting for the CPS to make up their mind.

Will she end ten years of corrosive centralisation and accept our longstanding call for locally-elected police commissioners?

Mr Speaker, the Flanagan Report is long and comprehensive, but it demonstrates two key facts...

First, that failure of ten years of Labour's centralised micro-management has demoralised the police and debilitated public confidence.

Second, that it is the Conservatives who understand what it will take to get police back on the streets accountable to the communities they serve?

Will the Home Secretary please tell us when this government is going to stop talking about stronger law and order and get a grip and actually deliver it?"

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