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Police: Bureaucracy

Volume 508: debated on Monday 22 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he has taken to reduce the amount of time spent by police officers on administrative tasks since 1997; what steps he plans to take in the next six months; what estimate he has made of the average amount of time spent by police officers on administration per (i) day, (ii) week and (iii) month; what recent representations he has received on police morale; what reply he gave; and if he will make a statement. (313278)

The Government are committed to reducing bureaucracy in policing, including the amount of time spent by police officers on unnecessary administrative tasks.

This is why we have taken the following steps:

Reducing by up to 50 per cent. the amount of data that we routinely collect from police forces;

Piloting a more proportionate approach to the recording of crime and incidents;

Scrapping the requirement for police officers to complete time sheets for the purposes of activity-based costing;

Removing the requirement for police officers to complete a form when carrying out a stop and account encounter;

Investing £80 million in the rollout of mobile technology, saving officers up to 30 minutes per shift as they are able to send and receive information while on the beat;

Publishing a Policing White Paper which includes measures to improve efficiency in policing and also sets out our response to the recommendations made by Jan Berry, the independent Reducing Bureaucracy Advocate.

Over the next six months we will:

Ensure that these steps are fully implemented by all police forces;

Work with the service to formally recognise proportionate crime recording as good practice and promote its adoption by forces;

Legislate to reduce the reporting requirements for stop and search;

Support the piloting of an approach to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy involved in the police charging process; and

Continue to work with Jan Berry and the police service to encourage the adoption of more efficient business processes by police forces.

Measures of time spent on patrol and administrative tasks have been discontinued as part of the Government's commitment to reduce the burden on police forces imposed by statistical and other data. The scrapping of activity-based costing has been estimated to save up to 260,000 hours per year across the police workforce. This allows officers to concentrate their efforts on fighting crime and being more visible.

The Home Office has not received any specific representation on the subject of police morale but my ministerial colleagues and I continue to enjoy constructive and regular discussions with police stakeholders, including the police staff associations.