The Week

The Week, 25 August 2017

This week, Reform published a paper making recommendations to bring the police workforce into the digital age. It comes as the Crown Prosecution Service announced that online abuse is to be taken as seriously as face-to-face hate crime, and epidemic levels of online identity fraud were revealed.

Emilie Sundorph, Researcher

Reformer of the week

Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions, for recognising that online hate crime is a serious offence.

Good week for…


On Thursday, figures showed that far fewer international students overstay their visa than what was previously believed.


On Thursday, GCSE results saw two thirds of the top grades awarded to girls.

Computing skills

On Thursday, the GCSE results also showed that the number of students studying computing has risen, although more are still required to fill the skills gap.

Bad week for…

Gender parity in local councils

On Monday, a study revealed that only 33 per cent of councillors and 17 per cent of council leaders in England are women.

Linking health and employment

On Wednesday, it was revealed that two thirds of GPs have not referred a single person to the Government’s Fit for Work scheme.

Middle-aged exercise

On Thursday, research by Public Health England suggested that six million middle-aged people in England are not even taking a brisk walk once a month.

Quotes of the week

“My message to victims is that the CPS, police and others in the criminal justice system are ready to listen and, where we have the evidence, to hold those committing hate crimes to account. Victims should not suffer in silence and, as our new guidance makes clear, victims can be supported at all stages of the criminal justice process.”

Alison Saunders, in the Guardian on Monday

“Nearly half of all crimes in Britain have some sort of cyber-connection. The police are swamped (and often clueless about computers). A report by the Reform think tank this week offers sensible suggestions: a police cyber-academy, bringing in digital experts as special constables, and weeding out officers who are unwilling or unable to learn the skills needed to deal with cybercrimes.”

Edward Lucas, in The Times on Friday

“[…] we need to call out our political overlords when they shower us with drivel about how very lucky we are to live in the best of all possible worlds. Free universal healthcare is a precious thing indeed. To protect it we need to stop worshipping at the shrine of the NHS and stop demanding it be preserved in aspic. We need instead to ask how it can change for the better.”

Paul Johnson, in The Times on Friday

Reform’s Week


On Wednesday, Reform launched Bobbies on the net: a police workforce for the digital age, a report on shaping the police workforce to meet rising digital crime. The paper was covered by over 20 news outlets, including:

• Financial Times

• The Telegraph

• The Sun

• BBC News at One

Alexander Hitchcock, Senior Researcher at Reform, wrote an op-ed for The Telegraph, arguing that a new generation of technology and skills is needed by the police to combat cybercrime.

Alexander Hitchcock also wrote a piece for the New Statesman, explaining that as crime moves online, the police need more investment in technological solutions.

Emilie Sundorph, Researcher at Reform, argued in Prospect that police forces need “the digital skills to cope” with increasing cybercrime.

Emilie Sundorph also wrote for Policing Insight, underlining that the police need to change their working culture to meet future demand.

The Reformer Blog

On Wednesday, Alexander Hitchcock introduced the findings of Bobbies on the net in an interactive blog. Chris Excell, Acting Police Sergeant in Lambeth, argued that as crime moves online, technological solutions are necessary to meet changing demand. Giles York QPM, Sussex Police Chief Constable, wrote that a digitally aware workforce must develop in line with technological advances.

On Friday, Ruby Holmes, former Research Assistant at Reform, called for a continued push for diversity in a digital age of policing.