Six million police hours a year wasted on red tape

Up to six million police hours a year are wasted on bureaucracy, a leaked review on the police service has found.

A year-long independent review on policing by Sir Ronnie Flanagan, the chief inspector of constabulary in England and Wales, found that time and money wasted on police red tape was the equivalent to having 3,000 additional officers on the beat.

“The 21st-century police service is in danger of becoming a slave to doctrine and strait-jacketed by progress,” Flanagan’s report said.

He concluded that by abolishing the ‘stop and account’ form through the introduction of mobile data systems, handheld computer systems could save each officer up to 52 minutes per shift by filling in the form and transmitting the data back to the station.

The report also criticises police forces of targeting less serious crimes to meet performance targets, and puts the service further into the spotlight following a decision earlier this week by police officers to take their protest over pay to court.

The report was due to be published tomorrow, but was leaked to a number of national newspapers last night.

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