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Where Are All The Police? – An Analysis of Police Resources


of a charged person can be recorded as many as 17 times onto different forms in a police custody and case file process. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that the IT systems of the police, courts and CPS cannot communicate with each other.


Mobile working has huge potential benefits for the police, but there is no national strategy to develop it. While most forces are undertaking some sort of mobile data trials, only one has fully rolled out mobile working technology to all response officers.


WORK COULD BE MORE PRODUCTIVE


Workforce Modernisation pilots show that efficiency gains of up to 20 per cent are possible by using civilian staff to release sworn officers from unnecessary paperwork. The programme received only weak support from many chief constables and the previous Government – it needs to be driven forward. Mobile custody suites, which could be operated by the private sector, could reduce police officer abstraction times without risking the rights of suspects.


BURDENS COULD BE REMOVED


“Statutory charging”, under which the CPS must formally approve all charges, causes delay. Charging discretion should be returned to the police for a wider range of minor offences. A review of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act should include consideration of new provisions, subject to appropriate safeguards, to allow the detention clock to be stopped and permit post charge interviews. The use of police cells to detain people with mental illnesses places pressure on both the police and suspects themselves and requires fundamental review.


Chapter 7 - Accountable policing


The police should be locally accountable to the public, through the direct election of police commissioners to replace police authorities and through a “right to policing” for local communities. Elected commissioners would work with local partners to deliver, joined-up justice. At the national level standards should be ensured by a strong independent inspectorate and a streamlined set of national indicators to measure what matters.


THE POLICE ARE NOT ON THE STREETS Police officer numbers have reached record levels, at around 140,000 full time equivalent officers in England and Wales. Yet this remains low by international comparisons. The Labour Government’s vague pledges to deliver neighbourhood policing were not met. Nationally, less than 10 per cent of police officers in England and Wales are dedicated to neighbourhood policing and the previous Government provided 8,000 fewer PCSOs than it promised in its election manifesto. Home Office figures revealed that only 14 per cent of all police officers’ time is spent on patrol. Just 1 in 58 police officers are patrolling the streets at any given time.


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