Headlines: September 18th, 2002

Police officers spend 43% of their time in police stations and only 17% on patrol, mostly in vehicles. The Policing Bureaucracy Taskforce has now come up with a plan to free up time so that officers can spend most of the day on the street. The ideas in the plan came rank and file officers and they include cuts in unnecessary form filling, giving officers the power to grant bail on the street and reducing waiting time in court.The plan provides for a drastic reduction in the number of forms completed by officers. The Taskforce found that some information collected on forms was not required, some was already available from the Police National Computer and in other cases forms could be amalgamated to streamline data collection. It is estimated that some 90,000 officer hours can be saved annually by these measures.

The proposed street bail scheme would allow officers to grant bail on the street for minor offences such as shoplifting. The suspect would attend a police station at a later date. This would enable the officer to remain on the street.

A pilot study will be launched to reduce the time spent by officers in court. A single officer would be nominated to attend the start of the trial. Other officers would be placed on standby and would remain in contact either at their home station or at a nearby police station and undertake other duties, including patrol, while waiting to give evidence.

Best value performance indicators will be reduced from 32 to 18.

The action plan will be taken forward by a Policing Bureaucracy Implementation Steering Group, jointly chaired by the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers.

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