The Daily Telegraph: Red tape for forces raises costs by pounds 80m, say Tories

Monday, 23 June, 2008

Red tape and bureaucracy for police has increased the cost of dealing with criminal incidents by pounds 80 million in three years, the Tories claim.

The total staff cost of dealing with incidents has risen by pounds 158 million to pounds 1.2 billion since 2004-05, figures obtained by David Ruffley , the shadow police minister, show.

Just over half of this figure - nearly pounds 80 million - was down to red tape and bureaucracy, Mr Ruffley said.

The claims come ahead of the Government's policing green paper in which ministers are likely to set out how they plan to cut red tape. The figures show that the "staff cost'' of dealing with an incident of violence against the person has risen by 22 per cent to pounds 491 in three years.

The average cost of dealing with a fraud offence is up by 46 per cent to pounds 450 while the cost of processing an incident of criminal damage is up from pounds 86 to pounds 102.

Mr Ruffley claimed that the main reason for the increase was extra red tape. "That is why we promise to cut unnecessary form-filling, which literally wastes police time,'' he said.

A report in February by Sir Ronnie Flanagan, the chief inspector of constabulary, found that if levels of red tape were stripped back it could release up to seven million hours of police time a year.