The reason for having a national Government is supposed to be that as well as setting out national policies and national budgets, that they also monitor how the regional and local bodies that they fund through those budgets, deliver effective services to the people in the communities concerned. It is after all these people who pay their taxes and elect the Government. The fact that each area has locally elected representatives and civil servants or in the case of Police matters, Police Officers and Police Staff who make local decisions does not remove from the Government, the need for them to ensure that best practice is shared and worst practice is eliminated. In the case of Policing one of the ways this is achieved is through the HM Inspectors. However their assessments need to be gathered together by the Government who should also set out priorities for them and they must not become the only mechanism in place to ensure our police services are constantly improved and developed. When taxpayers or MPs like Rosena Allin-Khan want answers regarding sexual abuse cases and the way they are being policed across the nation, it is vital that the Government is able to provide answers to these questions. To not have such answers rather questions if the current Government understand their role in our nation. Just because they introduced the Police and Crime Commissioner role back in 2012 does not mean that they can avoid responsibility for answering such a vital pair of questions. However very disturbingly this is the answer that Policing Minister, Nick Hurd gave to Rosena on 15th January:
“Child sexual abuse investigations are an operational matter for the police. Police and Crime Commissioners and chief constables are best placed to decide how to deploy their officers to investigate these crimes. The police are operationally independent of Government; therefore, the Government does not hold information about the number of police officers allocated to investigate these crimes.
The Home Office is providing £1.9m financial support through Police Special Grant funding to Operation Hydrant towards the coordination of child sexual abuse and exploitation investigations concerning institutional settings. Operation Hydrant publishes statistics quarterly at: https://www.npcc.police.uk/NPCCBusinessAreas/OtherWorkAreas/OpHydrant/Statistics.aspx.
Latest published statistics by Operation Hydrant feature 329 sport institutions on the Operation Hydrant database up to and including the 30 September 2018. In relation to abuse in football specifically, 300 alleged suspects have been identified up to and including 29 March 2018.”
The fact is that Nick seems to think that because the Home Office supply £1.9m to Operation Hydrant, that they should have statistics, but when it comes to the £12.3Bn of taxes which are used to fund the Police, that because they have handed over responsibility to the Police and Crime Commissioners who are locally elected, that they are therefore not accountable for their national funding decisions and their policies. It is vital that we reverse this sloping shoulder approach!