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Daily police work more important than targets, says PSNI chief


George Hamilton

George Hamilton


George Hamilton

Hitting targets should not come at the expense of everyday policing, PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton has said.

The number of performance measures has risen and he plans to discuss the matter with the Policing Board and Audit Office.

He warned the amount of resources for inspecting his force was increasing, while the money available for the PSNI to keep people safe was going down.

"I fully accept that information is critical to managing performance and scrutinising policing. However, there is a need to ensure that policing does not become about hitting the target, but missing the point."

The Policing Plan that sets targets for the force contains 11 outcomes and 49 associated performance measures, 32 of which include numerical targets.

Mr Hamilton said: "Accountability in Northern Ireland is currently taking a more quantitative approach to policing, following an earlier Audit Office inspection of the Policing Board. I welcome the ongoing debate around target-setting in policing and look forward to further conversations with the Policing Board and the Audit Office on this issue."

Recently, the Home Secretary called on police authorities and chief constables to take a radical approach to cutting the number of targets and bureaucracy. Mr Hamilton said: "It is important that there is a shared strategic understanding among inspectorates of the policing service that they want to see. Individual inspection reports conducted in isolation can have unintended consequences.

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"This is perhaps a particularly pertinent point, given the ongoing debate about the use of quantitative targets to measure performance in policing."

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