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Essex Police: Bureaucracy

Volume 478: debated on Monday 23 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the average amount of time each week that police officers in Essex Police spent (a) on patrol and (b) dealing with paperwork in the last 12 months. (211239)

[holding answer 17 June 2008]: The latest available data are for 2006-07 and are set out in the following table.

Essex police—time spent on patrol and paperwork

2006-07

Percentage

Time Spent on Patrol

11.80

Time Spent on all Paperwork

24.70

Time Spent on Incident Related Paperwork1

11.60

1 Also included in time spent on paperwork.

Time on patrol on its own does not provide an accurate picture of frontline police activity. In 2006-07 Essex police officers spent 64.8 per cent. of their time on frontline duties. The measurement of time on patrol only refers to the time when an officer is patrolling but engaged in no other duty. Any activity that an officer responds to while on patrol (such as street crime or a burglary) is recorded separately against the other activity and not shown as patrol. In the last three years the Essex police has returned 1,000 police officers to frontline duties from back office functions.

We are committed to reducing the time spent on paperwork by police officers, as is Essex police. The force has made a pledge to attend the scene of every crime and take a full witness statement from all victims, dependent on their individual needs which may contribute to the extra time spent on paperwork.

I am told by Essex police that comparing 2007-08 with the previous year shows 8,000 fewer victims of crime in the county, 1,000 more crimes detected, 13,500 fewer incidents of antisocial behaviour, and an additional 3,500 persons arrested. This is welcome and shows that the force is making Essex a safer place in which to live.

My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has already accepted Sir Ronnie Flanagan’s recommendation to remove lengthy Stop and Account forms, and will also consider more proportionate and streamlined stop and search and crime recording forms. We are continuing with consultation on reforms of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, streamlining the Criminal Justice process, and investing £50 million in new mobile data technology.