Tuesday, May 02, 2006

'Fitness for Purpose'

LONDON: Responding to "Closing the Gap", a report - by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary - on the ability of the current structure of policing in England and Wales to provide effective and sustainable services in the future, a leading figure in organised crime has voiced his approval of plans to reduce the number of police forces in England and Wales from 43 to 12.

Supporting police modernisation, British crimelord Harold Shand said, "Modern organised criminals are sophisticated, organised and well-resourced entrepreneurs trafficking in drugs and people, engaging in fraud and extortion. We run business empires that reach from the other side of the world to the dealer on the street corner".

Pointing to efficiency gains over the last decade , Shand noted that the price of an ecstacy tablet has fallen from £20.50 a ten years ago to only £7 today and that prices of heroin and cocaine both fell by 30 per cent over the same period.

"Ten years ago, the price of one ecstasy pill would have bought 14 pints of lager or 222 cigarettes. Today, the £7 street price for a tablet of ecstasy is the equivalent of 3 pints of lager or 30 king-size cigarettes.

"We work in a competitive industry. Dealing with 43 separate Police Forces fragments our business processes, reducing efficiency, and hindering our work in delivering value to the customer. We welcome the proposed streamlining."

While this endorsement will be welcomed by the Home Office, serial Labour rebel MP Paul Flynn struck a dissenting note saying: "This is a decision that is rushed. It's not based on any rational basis. It will help only the criminals and it will harm the whole structure of the police. It's reorganisation for reorganisation's sake."

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