Police accused on 'target setting'
Management in the Metropolitan Police is making increasing use of target-setting, whereby officers are required to achieve designated numbers of stops and arrests, regardless of whether the crime situation merits them, according to the Metropolitan Police Federation (MPF).
Those who fail to fulfil enforcement quotas face being named and shamed in "league tables" and sometimes punished in other ways, it said.
The pressure to hit targets is so intense that more and more officers are falling sick with stress, while others are quitting in disgust, it added.
The MPF said it had received the views of hundreds of officers on the subject and had found disintegrating morale as they chased targets which were sometimes impossible to achieve
A spokesman said: "The target culture is leading to bizarre situations such as officers squabbling over who is going to arrest a suspect and get the kudos of scoring another tick on their performance sheet.
"It is also unremitting. One officer spoke of colleagues who are off sick being pressured to return to work and facing barrages of phone calls from management demanding to know when this will happen."
Officers' views have been placed in an MPF report which says officers are discouraged from spending time on duties which do not count towards targets but which nonetheless may be important to the public, the spokesman said.
One officer complained, for example, of being unable to "go the extra mile" for crime victims because of numerical targets - and this was despite the Met having a Total Victim Care policy.
The imposition of policing-by-targets is in defiance of the Home Secretary, Theresa May, who has repeatedly condemned them, the spokesman said.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "We are faced with many challenges, not least delivering improvements against the background of a reduced budget, however, despite this we do not recognise the claim that we have a bullying culture.
"We make no excuses for having a culture that values performance. We have pledged to reduce crime, increase confidence and cut costs. It's a big task and we have a robust framework in place to ensure we achieve this. The public expects no less.
"We aim to be the best police force for London and are transforming the way we deliver policing in London so that we are efficient and effective and responsive to the changing needs of Londoners. This will mean more officers on the streets fighting crime in neighbourhoods and using technology that helps them to deliver more to the victims of crime and prevents others from suffering from crime in the first place.
"We are already seeing results. The latest figures show crime in London falling faster than it has for years and we know from our surveys that both public confidence and victim satisfaction is increasing month on month."
:: The findings of the MPF's research are given in a report entitled The Consequences of a Target Driven Culture within Policing - From the 'Voice' of Metropolitan Police Officers.