Less time on the beat, more time at the desk

Paperwork and reports are unfortunately part of pretty much every job. I hate the amount involved in mine and go to extreme procastination efforts to avoid them. Seems the Police aren’t exempt to this either – there’s a debate in the news  as ministers have been covering up the latest figures on beat to desk time.

It’s been revealed that the police spend less than one-eighth of their time out on patrol and a fifth on paperwork. Which first begs the question – what else are they doing? The problem with this is that the media are saying it makes a mockery of the Government’s pledges to free up officer time so that there’s more of them on the street.

Isn’t that every politician’s promise? “I will put more police on the streets.”

The Police Federation has said that “In the time of this Government, police numbers have increased by around 10,000 while police staff numbers have increased by around 45,000 to 50,000 but we have seen no improvement in an officer’s ability to spend time on patrol.”

Fair enough. The government created more police officers but then they all ended up doing paper work too. So why has nobody voiced the real problem: why do they spend so much time doing paperwork?

It’s not because they’re slow writers or the offices are warmer than the streets. It’s because they have to now. Seriously, how many times have you heard of ridiculously guilty criminals escaping punishment because paperwork wasn’t filled in? Or because some lawyer found a box that wasn’t ticked 100% in the paperwork? 

The issue here isn’t that the police are spending less time on patrol, surely it’s a case that we now live in a world where they have to provide a lever-arch file worth of paperwork filled in 100% accurate so that some snake-in-the-grass laywer can’t get a rapist off the hook because a certain line on a form wasn’t initialed. 

With all the loopholes that the defence lawyers in this world are finding, expanding and dancing through while mocking justice and lining their pockets mean it won’t be long until the Police services are merely clerical staff with a fancy badge.


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