27 MAR 2019

Questions in Debate on Royal Commission on Policing

John Howell (Henley) (Con)

In my police force, a lot of what the hon. Gentleman is talking about already happens. The force is already changing how it delivers police services; for example, there is a much bigger emphasis on rural crime. I am not sure how a royal commission would link into that, and what effect it would have on our very different constabularies.

Stephen Lloyd

That is a moot point, but the hon. Gentleman's intervention reflects precisely my point: we can no longer have piecemeal changes, with one force doing one thing and another force doing another. A lack of consistency is at the heart of the problem of poor morale within police forces and a lack of engagement, support and trust among many of the public.

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John Howell

The point that I was trying to make was that if we compare Thames Valley police with the Metropolitan police, for example, they are completely different organisations tackling different sorts of crimes. I wonder whether the differences in the make-up of constabularies are now so great that a royal commission would not be able to work across all those different activities.

Mr Hurd

That is a valid and important point. I understand the temptation to say, "There are lots of difficult things going on and there is a need to take a long-term view, so let us ask some sensible people to take some time, go away and talk to people, and think about this." My concern is not just that which my hon. Friend the Member for Henley expressed, but that a royal commission feels like a rather outdated and static process, given the dynamic situation that we are in.

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