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Police: Bureaucracy

Volume 503: debated on Monday 11 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to reduce the number of forms police officers are required to complete in respect of each prosecution; what recent discussions he has had with the Police Federation on that matter; and if he will make a statement. (303906)

The Policing Green Paper, published in July 2008, committed the Government to cut red tape and improve police processes to free officers up to deal with the issues that matter to the public. This has been built upon by the Policing White Paper, published on 2 December 2009.

To date we have made the following progress:

On 1 January 2009 changes to Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 Code A came into effect which removed the requirement for police officers to complete the Stop and Account form, whilst retaining the recording of the ethnicity of those stopped for monitoring reasons.

We are also legislating in the Crime and Security Bill currently before Parliament to remove the paperwork associated with Stop and Search.

Action on forms is part of a wider approach to bureaucracy reduction, focusing on the simplification of policing processes and more effective management of risk. Jan Berry has been appointed as the independent reducing bureaucracy advocate to challenge Government and the police service to make further progress on these issues, supported by a practitioner group of police officers and staff. Her full report, Reducing Bureaucracy in Policing, was published on 2 December 2009.

As set out in the White Paper, we will also work with police stakeholders to encourage forces themselves to take responsibility for reducing bureaucracy. This includes reducing the amount and size of forms that officers and staff need to fill in. Jan Berry will be asked to report on this in her final report in summer 2010.

Home Office Ministers have regular meetings with the Police Federation and other staff associations at which bureaucracy is discussed along with other policing issues.