Mowlam arrests rise of police paperwork

20 Apr 00
Police complaints about spending too much time filling in forms and not enough time catching criminals have finally found a sympathetic ear in the shape of Cabinet Office supremo Mo Mowlam.

21 April 2000

Mowlam this week unveiled proposals to cut by a million the number of forms police in England and Wales have to fill in every year, and also to reduce the paperwork in dealings with the Crown Prosecution Service.

The plans have been drawn up by the Cabinet Office's Public Sector Team, set up to investigate ways of cutting bureaucracy in public service. 'Its work will continue so that public sector workers can spend more time on what they are good at,' Mowlam said.

The report was produced after a six-week study of police paperwork, and a telephone survey of the 43 police forces in England and Wales. The Association of Chief Police Officers, the CPS and the Home Office were also consulted.

The key recommendations include removing the need for police to fill in 'prisoner escort records' in 80% of cases: the investigation established that only 20% of prisoners are actually moved from one place to another. The team estimates this alone will save 166,000 hours of police time a year – equivalent to 90 officers working full-time.

It was also announced this week that the Metropolitan Police in London will centralise sensitive criminal records on a new database being developed by the US technology firm Electronic Data Systems (EDS). EDS has won a contract worth £60m over eight years to create the database which will cover every crime reported in London.


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