How does the Policing Board accommodate for increased recording of Hate Crimes while acknowledging that levels of this particular type of crime may not be reduced?
In setting and agreeing targets for all catergories of crime in the Annual Policng Plan, the Policing Board recognises that for some catergories of crime, under reporting is an issue. In such instances the Policing Board would not set a target to reduce crime in that catergory. Rather, the Board would focus on how to increase confidence in the PSNI so as to encourage reporting of crimes such as Hate crime.
For example, to increase confidence in policing as a method to encourage reporting of crime, the Policing Board would set a target to improve the clearance rate of Hate Crime. The Policing Board may also encourage PSNI to develop outreach initiatives to engage with those communities affected by Hate Crime and to increase confidence levels among that community to report such crimes to the police.
Who defines the targets for the Annual Policing Plan and how they will be achieved? Are these targets really helping to improve performance?
The Policing Plan is agreed annually between the PSNI and Members of the Policing Board. The plan is structured under a series of performance outcomes, indicators and measures. In developing the Plan, the PSNI and Policing Board consider a range of factors such as the previous PSNI performance, crime trends and analysis, community issues identified by the PCSPs and the Strategic Consultative Group, and objectives identified by the Justice Minister. A strategy event is facilitated by the Policing Board each year at which the PSNI and Policing Board agree the objectives and indicators for the plan.
The PSNI and Policing Board Officials then suggest targets which are considered and agreed by the Policing Board and PSNI Service Executive Team.
Once targets have been set in the Annual Policing Plan, the Board regularly monitors them and ensures that the PSNI are held to account for their performance against these targets.
What happens if the Chief Constable falls short on the targets in the Annual Policing Plan?
The Policing Board regularly monitors performance against the targets. If mid year targets are not being met there are opportunities for the Policing Board Members to challenge the Chief Constable on why they are not being met and for measures to be put in place to address this. Ultimately at the end of each financial year the Policing Board will assess how the PSNI has performed against the plan and will publish a summary of the targets achieved / missed in the Policing Board's Annual Report.