It is my view that all 'civilianised' policing activities should be returned to the police.
Disband all 'civil enforcement officers', Highways Patrols, Police Community Support Officers, regional or centralised control rooms and Special Constables and CCTV operation centres. Remove all speed cameras. Stop installing (and remove) all traffic calming measures. These measures would also allow the closure of vast numbers of associated admin units. Use the money saved by the closure/ceasation of these activities to provide more police out on patrol.
Contentious I know, but as a former police officer who retired (on medical grounds) after 22 years service I know from first hand experience how the efficiancy and effectiveness of the service deteriorated with the introduction of civilianised posts, not to mention accountability, targets and all the paperwork and time required to prove that the job is being done – time, in particular, that could be better spent doing what needs doing rather than producing huge reports trying to convince the public and the 'powers that be' that the job is being done.
Why does this idea matter?
Civil Enforcement Officers – a police officer on foot tasked to perform this role will also be able to deal with anything else that they see. It will allow them to talk to local residents and businesses about any problems and engender greater confidence in the service as a whole.
Higways Patrols – if these are disbanded and extra police patrols put in place instead their will be a reduction in the number of moving traffic offences, a quicker response to incidents and, again, an increase in confidence.
Police Community Support Officers – policing on the cheap with limited powers. If a police presense is identified or desired then please let that be provided by fully trained police officers.
Regional or centralised control rooms – one of the biggest factors in the lowering of efficiency and effectiveness of the police. Control rooms should be based in each division and MUST be manned by experienced police officers who have worked in the area and have extensive local knowledge – this allows them to direct and control the right resources for any particular incident. As an example: In Essex the main control for the police is (as far as I am aware) based in Chelmsford. In theory a control room officer who has lived all their life in Harlow may have to direct officers to a serious incident in Southend (on the opposite side of the County) with absolutely no knowledge of the area or the best places to send officers to have the greatest chance of catching the offenders.
Special Contables – although long established, I feel that the same argument as PCSO's applies.
CCTV operation centres – reported to have help detect many crimes, some serious. My argument would be that extra police on the streest would help to prevent the crimes happening in the first place.
Speed Cameras – of limited, localised, use. A revenue generating excercise mainly in areas which don't really warrant them and one of the biggest cause of a lack of confidence in the police service as a whole. I would like to see greater police patrols who are able to stop and talk to people who are driving in an inappropriate manner, give words of guidance or further action as necessary. This would also help detect other crimes and possibly prevent many others (a speed camera can't see that old lady being mugged or the house over the road on fire).
Traffic calming is unpopular with the vast majority of road users and, in my view, an indication that the country has lost the ability to properly police itself. It, together with speed cameras, creates an oppresive regime aimed at all motorists. I also have a feeling that it is this 'oppression', or feeling that they are constantly slapped down that causes young drivers to let off steam when on minor roads etc and it is this that results in so many of the tragic accidents they have. Traffic calming punishes all motorists for the inappropriate actions of the few and simply doesn't work, as I have witnessed myself on a number of occasions!