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Police: Bureaucracy

Volume 506: debated on Thursday 4 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what estimate he has made of the proportion of police officer time spent on paperwork in each year since 1997; (319529)

(2) what estimate he has made of the proportion of police officer time spent on beat patrol in each year since 1997;

(3) what estimate he has made of the proportion of police officer time spent on patrol (a) on foot and (b) in cars in each year since 1997.

Information on time spent on patrol and paperwork was collected between 2003-04 and 2007-08 as part of the frontline policing measure and is set out in the following table. Information was not collected on time spent on patrol in cars and on foot. To reduce paperwork burdens on police officers the collection of data about time spent by officers on police activities ceased after 2007-08 in response to the recommendations by Sir David Normington in his review of data burdens placed by the Government on the police service published in February 2009.

The figure for time spent on patrol does not include everything done by an officer engaged in frontline policing. It only measures the time an officer is engaged on no other activity but patrol, for example as soon as they respond to an incident they are counted against that activity and not patrol. It is therefore inappropriate to look at the patrol element in isolation from the rest of the frontline policing measure.

Policing necessarily requires a degree of paperwork: to ensure accountability in the use of powers, prepare case files, and take witness statements. Non-incident paperwork includes handling complaints. All of these activities are part of providing a modern, effective and accountable police service.

Time spent on patrol and paperwork 2003-04 to 2007-08

Percentage

Total time spent on paperwork

Time spent on incident-related paperwork

Time spent on non incident related paperwork

Time spent on patrol

Frontline policing measure

2003-04

20.1

10.3

9.8

14.2

62.1

2004-05

18.4

9.9

8.5

15.3

62.6

2005-06

19.3

10.8

8.5

14.0

63.1

2006-07

19.9

11.4

8.5

13.6

64.2

2007-08

21.7

12.4

9.3

13.8

64.9

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the proportion of police officer time spent on health and safety-related activities in each year since 1997. (319533)

Information relating to the proportion of time spent on ‘health and safety-related activities’ is not held centrally.

The health, safety and welfare of police officers is the responsibility of the chief officer of each individual police force.