The Daily Telegraph, Police wasting time filing

Thursday, 7 August, 2008

POLICE are wasting more than a third of their days doing paperwork instead of fighting crime, the Government has admitted.

Some spend nearly four hours in every eight-hour shift filling in forms rather than on the beat.

Home Office figures show that police spent less than two thirds of their time on the front line last year.

However, the data, obtained by David Ruffley, the Conservative police spokesman, showed a slight increase in time on the beat compared with 2005-06.

The statistics cover all 43 forces in England and Wales and disclose that the worst performer was Cleveland Police where front-line duties accounted for 56.1 per cent of officers' time - down from 58.5 per cent in 2003-04. The figures cover the three years to the end of March last year - before a report from Sir Ronnie Flanagan, the chief inspector of constabulary, was published into police bureaucracy in February.

He recommended stripping back red tape to release up to seven million hours of police time every year - the equivalent of 3,500 officers.