If it reaches the statute book, the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, now before Parliament, will introduce something called the Injunction to Prevent Nuisance or Annoyance (Ipna), replacing the Asbo. And so we will have a new acronym for another example of gesture politics masquerading as law enforcement.
We do not want a police force driven by politics and EU directives. A target-driven culture has already infested public bodies during the last decade or so. Police officers are now so busy chasing targets, filling forms and ticking boxes, they have lost contact with the public and are on the verge of distancing themselves from the Peelian principles that used to define and underpin the service.
Community policing relies on factors such as the approachability and visibility of the police. There would be no need for Asbos or Ipnas if politicians would allow the police to operate in accordance with Sir Robert Peel’s Nine Principles of Policing.
In Peel’s words: “The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them.”
Time for a radical rethink?