66pc of police time ‘is wasted in red tape procedures’

Monday, October 18, 2010

LONDON - Should the police force run after burglars or should they complete relevant paperwork? That seems to be the dilemma most police officers feel, complaining that majority of their time is wasted on bureaucracy.

Up to 10 police officers are required to investigate a burglary in order to cope with all the paperwork, a Government report on police red tape said.

Student constables investigating burglaries have nine other officers supervising their work, the report said.

“This is not just about forms, it’s about the procedures that officers have to go through. It is imperative that with budget cuts looming we maximise the number of officers available for front-line duties,” The Telegraph quoted Simon Reed, the vice-chairman of the Police Federation, as saying.

“The only way we are going to cope with a reduction in budget is if we use our staff better. We have operating procedures for everything that emasculate officers and memos that reinforce the culture,” said Reed.

“Experienced officers know how to do things, they don’t need telling how to investigate, and it doesn’t help trainees to learn by mollycoddling them. This really is about using common sense,” he added.

The report said there are “fragmented and dysfunctional systems and processes, where greater attention is given to recording than investigation”.

Other examples of red tape include police officers who make arrests must enter the suspect’s details in at least four separate databases - or as many as eight in some forces.

“In the current economic climate, we cannot afford for this to get worse. Forces are going to have their budgets cut and will have to look at staff roles,” Berry said. (ANI)

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