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Police Patrolling

Volume 479: debated on Monday 29 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average time spent by a police officer on street patrol in (a) Northamptonshire and (b) England and Wales was in each of the last 10 years. (224072)

[holding answer 17 September 2008]: Information on time spent on patrol by police officers has only been collected since 2003-04. Values for Northamptonshire are set out in table A and values for England and Wales in table B.

Time spent on patrol refers only to time when an officer is patrolling, but engaged in no other duty. Activity (such as advice to a member of the public) carried out while on patrol is recorded separately. The percentage of time spent on patrol needs to be considered alongside other activities. We use the front-line policing measure to provide a fuller picture of police officer activity, and figures for this measure for England and Wales are also given in the tables.

The measure assesses time spent by police officers on core policing duties such as patrol, responding to 999 calls, as well as activities of CID and specialist officers. While these officers are not always visible to the public, they are none the less carrying out core policing duties.

I am told by Northamptonshire police that they have invested significantly in proactive crime fighting activities to address serious and organised crime, major crime and terrorism. This focused activity has contributed to a reduction in crime for the people of Northamptonshire, but is not included in time on patrol.

I am also told that in Northamptonshire, police responses to incidents requiring a rapid emergency response have risen by 20 per cent. This represents almost 9,000 more prioritised emergency responses to the public in 2007-08 compared to 2004-05. Public satisfaction at police response to incidents in Northamptonshire is also rising, and public confidence in policing in Northamptonshire (as measured by the British crime survey) has risen by almost 10 per cent. in the past 18 months.

Table A: Time spent on patrol and front-line policing measure, Northamptonshire, 2003-04 to 2007-08

Percentage

Time spent on patrol1, 2

Front-line policing measure3

2003-04

13.9

66.7

2004-05

15.0

59.7

2005-06

13.1

65.4

2006-07

11.5

64.3

2007-08

10.2

Table B: Time spent on patrol and front-line policing measure, England and Wales, 2003-04 to 2007-08

Percentage

Time spent on patrol1, 2

Front-line policing measure3

2003-04

14.2

63.6

2004-05

15.3

62.3

2005-06

14.0

63.6

2006-07

13.6

64.2

2007-08

413.8

1 Data was not collected before 2003. The information is taken from activity analysis, which is collected by all forces over a two-week period in each year and provides a snapshot of how officers are deployed.

2 Includes only officers on foot/car/beat patrol, CID and traffic officers. These values exclude PCSOs.

3 Data was not collected before 2003. 2007-08 data not yet available.

4 Data does not include Derbyshire and Staffordshire.