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Wasting Police Time

7 February, 2008


Sir Ronnie Flanagan’s report into the future of the British Police force has raised some interesting new questions about how effective our police are on the streets, he claims that if civilians were used to record  some incidents rather than the officers themselves then it would free up more time for crime prevention. 

Jobs such as staffing the front desk of police stations and processing suspects in custody suites could be carried out by non police officers, he said.

He also said police did not need to collect the same amount of paperwork for a broken window as a murder (no sh*t Ronnie!). All projections suggest they can save at least five million man hours a year by cutting red tape – the equivalent of 2,500 officers.

That’s great news, perhaps if this were true, then my local police station would be able to stay open after 4pm each day.

Currently, if a crime happens where I live, a police car has to be sent from the neighbouring town. Not an ideal situation. If you turn up to the station after 4pm, you’ll find it locked up with an intercom next to the door with a button to push. The intercom connects you to the main police station in Barnsley, where you can then report your crime over a crackly line to a civilian support officer, who will then decide whether or not to send out a car. Not the rapid response you’d hope to get for your tax money!

I’ve lived in here for 12 years now, and in all that time I have only ever once seen police on the beat, but thinking back, I’m not even sure they were real police officers, just community police, who really have no powers at all.

The National Officer for Policing, Ben Priestley, has been quoted as having said:

“Instead of spending time filling in forms, officers will now have more time doing what they are paid to do – catching criminals and keeping our streets safe.”

I’ll believe it when I see more police on the streets of my town, on a regular basis.

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