15 March 2007

Home Office Targets Distort Policing

A former Sussex detective has resigned to expose the pressure police are under to massage their crime detection figures as a result of Home Office targets and detection-driven culture. Interviewed by the BBC, Johnno Mills said "Officers are attending jobs thinking 'What can I get out of this to make it look as if I am productive?'"

This comes just weeks after it was claimed that Government NHS targets distort patients' overall treatment and can cause their wider healthcare needs to be ignored. The British Medical Association (BMA) has previously revealed that most of the targets imposed by the Department of Health do not benefit patients and are damaging relations between doctors and managers, between doctors and patients, and between GPs and hospital doctors. A recent BMA survey also found that a third of medical staff believed trusts were manipulating data to meet the four-hour waiting target for A&E patients, and 58% said the target resulted in people being discharged too soon.

Targets may appear to give credibility to a Government's policies, but it is time we trusted professionals once again to do the jobs that they have been trained to do.