I’m in the process of updating my textbook on Social Policy. Today I was putting together material on targets and performance indicators, when along came a prime specimen.
The report on Kent Police by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary provides a remarkable insight into the impact of targets on administrative practice. Some crimes are easier to resolve than others, so Kent Police had developed a practice of making sure that the easy crimes got the attention. They put the effort into clearing up cases of shoplifting and cannabis use, and recorded ‘no crime’ for some more difficult problems, including crimes of violence, burglary and rape. The Inspectors attribute this to ‘an historic culture of chasing targets’.
Later this week I’ll be looking at corruption and abuse of power, but of course I can’t expect anything new to happen there.