David Spencer

David Spencer
David Spencer joined Policy Exchange as the Head of Crime & Justice in April 2022. David was previously a police officer with the Metropolitan Police Service, joining in 2003. After serving in a series of uniformed and detective roles he was posted to Waltham Forest in 2010 as the Detective Inspector responsible for combatting robbery and burglary. After many years of increasing robbery and burglary rates Waltham Forest was, under David’s leadership, the only London borough to deliver three consecutive years of reductions in both robbery and burglary. During this time he also led the investigative response to the aftermath of the 2011 riots. Appointed to a Detective Chief Inspector role in 2013 David took responsibility for tackling gang crime, drug supply and violent street crime. As an experienced detective, he regularly led the immediate response to the most serious offences and critical incidents. This included being the senior detective on-call for North London leading the initial investigative response to murders, kidnaps, high risk missing persons, arsons, armed robberies and active threats to life. After first proposing the idea for Police Now in 2013 while still undertaking his operational role, David was the driving force for the creation of this multi-award winning national organisation. In 2016 he led the spin-out of Police Now from the Metropolitan Police Service to become an independent social enterprise. During his tenure Police Now established itself as one of the UK’s Top 100 graduate recruiters and consistently delivered the most diverse cohort of officers joining the police service. Police Now’s two leadership programmes have, since 2015, brought nearly 2,500 highly qualified graduates into policing over half of whom would not otherwise have applied for a policing career. His formal qualifications include an under-graduate business degree, a Masters degree in US politics, and a research Masters degree in British politics. He has also undertaken executive education programmes at London Business School and the University of Oxford Business School.

Related Publications

The ‘Wicked and the Redeemable’

Download Publication Online Reader A new report published today by Policy Exchange provides the most forensic review of the current crisis in the Criminal Justice System – and delivers a detailed long-term plan for Government to solving the crisis. The report is authored by David Spencer, a former Met Police Detective Chief Inspector and Policy Exchange’s Head of Crime and Justice. ‘The Wicked and the Redeemable’ reveals that: Despite representing […]

A Culture of Impunity

  Download Publication   Download Accessible Publication Online Reader A new paper published by Policy Exchange’s Liveable London and Crime and Justice Units shine a light on the continued erosion of disabled access to Parliament and Westminster and calls for urgent intervention. The landmark new report from Policy Exchange documents the erosion of disabled access to Parliament and Westminster, with the effects of e-bikes, protests and crime and anti-social behaviour highlighted as particularly harmful […]

‘Blurred Lines: Police Staff Networks – politics or policing?’

  Download Publication   Online Reader The crisis in British policing continues. One of the central critiques of modern policing is that to many people it appears that robbers, drug dealers and fraudsters operate unfettered by the forces of law and order while police officers indulge in activities which too often fail to contribute to effective policing. This paper considers the role of the over 200 ‘Staff Networks’ operating within […]

The ‘Just Stop Oil’ protests

Download Publication Online Reader An urgent new report released by Policy Exchange, ‘Just Stop Oil’ protests: A legal and policing quagmire’ sets out how the police can more effectively tackle the chaos that disruptive protests are bringing to our streets. Over the last month ‘Just Stop Oil’ protestors have brought London to a standstill – causing Criminal Damage, obstructing the highway, blocking ambulances and fire engines, disrupting Londoners from going about […]

‘Policing Can Win’

Download Publication Online Reader As a new Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police is appointed, Policy Exchange has published our report, “‘Policing Can Win’: The New Commissioner’s First 100 Days” by David Spencer, Policy Exchange’s Head of Crime & Justice. The central thesis to this report is that ‘Policing Can Win’ over those who would commit crime and disorder in our communities. In addition to summarising the core issues the Met […]

Crime & Policing: What do we want from the next Prime Minister?

Download Publication When the new Prime Minister takes office on the 6th September 2022, they will be faced with a police service which has, over the last decade, lost its way. Violent crime is all too common. Burglars and robbers are so unlikely to be caught that these crimes have become almost decriminalised. At least one in ten of us will fall victim to online fraudsters this year alone. This […]

Related Blogs

The culture of impunity which is relegating disabled people to second class status in Westminster

Westminster is the heart of British democracy. Every day tourists numbering in their thousands flock to see the spectacle of the Palace of Westminster. Yet it has become a feature of this part of central London that those who work in and visit this area are expected to tolerate unlawful behaviour which would never be permitted elsewhere. Every day the pavements of Westminster are blocked by the new scourge of e-bikes and […]

The Met and Mental Health

Sir Mark Rowley is being attacked by medical and healthcare professionals following the announcement that the Met will no longer attend some calls related to mental health from this summer unless there is a threat to life. But he is right, and he should stand his ground. British policing, and the Met in particular, is in crisis and has lost public confidence after a series of high-profile scandals. Rowley, now […]

The Met, the Commissioner and the Coronation

Over the coming days we will see the Metropolitan Police at its very best. As the world descends on London for the coronation of King Charles, the force will execute a plan that has been decades in the making. As the past year has shown, there are few tasks the Met excels at more than protecting the public and dignitaries when the capital hosts huge occasions of state. Meanwhile, the day-to-day […]

A leadership void has left the Met to rot

Two years of horrifying headlines mean the force is unable to recruit the police officers it needs. Change must come from the top The verdict on the Met is in and it makes for grim reading. Following a year-long investigation Baroness Casey has found a toxic culture, an inadequate regime for tackling misconduct and a breath-taking lack of leadership at all levels. Having spent the last two years watching the seemingly […]

Has the Met learnt anything from the case of David Carrick?

It’s another bad day for the Metropolitan police. The serial rapist former PC David Carrick has been given 36 life sentences and told he will not be released for at least 30 years. The details of the case are hard to believe: Carrick, known as ‘Bastard Dave’ to colleagues, has admitted using his status as a police officer to commit 48 rapes. The 48-year-old carried out a spree of dozens […]

The characterisation of police leadership and culture by MI5’s former Director General, Lord Evans, is wide of the mark

This week the former head of MI5, Jonathan Evans, told policing that its problems were down to a “shut up, do what you’re told and salute” culture. He claims that if policing is to overcome its “toxic” culture then a leadership style which is less hierarchical and more open to critique is required. Given the seemingly endless parade of horrific stories about the criminal and abusive behaviour of police officers, […]

Policing in crisis

The state of the markets led to much talk of a run on the pound. The run on the public’s confidence in policing should be of equal concern. Too many streets feel lawless. Robbers act with impunity. Drug dealing is obvious and shrugged off. A lack of faith that the police will apply the law is resulting in have-a-go heroes taking on the protestors that are bringing London to a standstill. Meanwhile, […]

Met chief should look North for clues to better policing

“Whatever else happens, things need to feel different to the public that we’re here to serve…. And not tomorrow, not next week. Today.” These were the words Stephen Watson, now Chief Constable of Greater Manchester, used to a group of senior police officers when I worked for him over a decade ago. It had been a week marked by intense gang violence in our part of the capital. Watson decided […]

Police forces must undergo a serious change to attract the best and brightest out there

On his first day in office, Boris Johnson stood on the steps of Downing Street and committed to recruiting an additional 20,000 police officers by 2023. The commitment was central to the Conservative Party’s manifesto at the 2019 election. What the government is attempting to achieve is no mean feat. As well as recruiting the additional 20,000 police officers, they must also replace those who leave. That’s an additional 6,500 […]

Crime in our capital city will stay high unless confidence in the Met is restored

London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan warned this week that the cost-of-living crisis may lead to an increase in violent crime in the capital. Policing – like every other twenty-first century public service – is replete with numbers that measure performance. The number of police officers working on the frontline; how long it takes for the police to get to the scene of a stabbing; the number of murders solved. But if […]

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