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Police Powers

Volume 551: debated on Monday 15 October 2012

We are taking a number of measures to help the police cut and tackle crime, not least sweeping away central targets and cutting red tape. We have already announced that we have cut 4.5 million hours of police bureaucracy, which will enable the police to have more time to do the job that they and the public want them to do, which is getting out there and fighting crime.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the innovative use of modern technology, such as that proposed by the PCC candidate for Staffordshire, Matthew Ellis, which could cut up to 3,000 hours of police administration time each week, will help forces such as mine put more officers on the beat to fight crime and reassure the public?

I agree with my hon. Friend. I have been in Staffordshire with our excellent Conservative candidate, Matthew Ellis, who has some very good proposals for helping the police to do their job and tackle crime, one of which is getting rid of bureaucracy by using new technology. That can have incredibly beneficial effects in allowing police officers to spend more time out there dealing with crime, rather than sitting inside a police station filling in forms.

In Greater Manchester we believe that it empowers the police if we show that we support them, their work and their bravery. Does the Home Secretary agree that it does not empower the police when a Cabinet Minister rants at them and swears at them?

That particular point was answered earlier, but I reiterate that, with regard to the incident to which the hon. Lady referred, the Chief Whip apologised to the police officer concerned and the police officer accepted that apology. The police are not taking the matter any further and that, as my right hon. Friend the Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice said earlier, is an end to it.

We value the police, which is why we are getting rid of the bureaucracy that kept them in police stations filling in forms instead of doing the job that they wanted to do, and why we are giving more discretion to the police over charging. We are returning discretion and professionalism to the police, which was, sadly, taken away from them in many areas by the previous Labour Government.