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GORDON HENDERSON MP

FOR SITTINGBOURNE & SHEPPEY

Police Should Be Crime-Fighters, Not Form-Writers

19th May 2011
Police Should Be Crime-Fighters, Not Form-Writers

Local MP, Gordon Henderson, has welcomed the Home Secretary’s commitment to fight crime by slashing police bureaucracy. In a speech on Monday, Theresa May outlined a package of reforms which will save 2.5 million police hours a year – the equivalent of 1200 officer posts.

The reforms will cut paperwork above all by restructuring the police’s performance review process, and simplifying crime recording. They will change the culture of policing by moving away from the tick box, cover-your-back culture of today. This is a truly radical change with Government committing to trust the police to get on with their job.

Although Labour promised to cut bureaucracy, the police saw more paperwork not less. The police were directed by Whitehall diktat and spent their time chasing centrally-defined targets, rather than responding to the needs of local communities. Despite record spending, bureaucracy and form-filling kept police behind desks. A report last year by the police inspectorate found that only eleven per cent of police officers were visible and available to the public at any time.

The Coalition Government is introducing a series of measures as part of their plan to fight crime:

• Slashing bureaucracy. The new package of reforms will save an estimated 2.5 million hours of police time, the equivalent of 1200 officer posts. Steps have already been taken to save up to an additional 800,000 hours of police time by scrapping the stop form and limiting stop and search reporting.
• Removing all targets. All Labour’s targets for the police have been scrapped and replaced with a single goal: to cut crime.
• Providing transparent information. Street-level crime maps on police.uk provide accurate information so local communities can see how police are dealing with crime in their area.

Mr Henderson said,

‘This is a watershed moment for policing across Sittingbourne & Sheppey. After years of rising paperwork, Government is taking effective steps to cut crime by tackling the bureaucracy that keeps the police behind desks, not out on the streets.

‘Dealing with the paperwork from a simple burglary can require 1,000 process steps. Labour claim to support reducing bureaucracy but couldn’t even answer whether the police should spend more time on paperwork or patrol.

 ‘Only this Government is prepared to trust the police to get on with their jobs – rather than tying them up in paperwork and red tape. That’s why I support the Home Secretary’s decision to scrap all police targets and instead set the police just one goal: to cut crime’.

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