Only 3 cops on duty
As few as three uniformed police officers are available to patrol the streets, respond to 999 calls and tackle night-time disorder in some towns and city areas, according to research into the experiences of front-line Pcs.
Despite record numbers of police officers overall, many commanders in local divisions in England and Wales - typically based in a station in small and medium towns - can call on just five or fewer uniformed officers per duty shift, the academic study shows.
Those who are available are often tied up in bureaucracy for up to half their eight- or 10-hour shifts. The shortages are particularly acute at night, when police are most needed to deal with drunken hooligans.
This isn’t too surprising particularly after using the freedom of information act I found out that police had to fill in more than 20 forms for a single arrest and it is double that if there are two suspects. Here is the response I got from Cleveland Police in January:
I have listed below the forms required to be submitted for a full case file. It must be borne in mind that there may be numerous witnesses and in some cases multiple defendants so the forms are repeated. It is also of importance that you are aware that there are other forms to complete in certain circumstances.
In domestic violence situations there is a specific form to be completed, as with Child Protection issues. There is a search of premises form and also a use of force form if the officer has had to use force to effect an arrest.
Stolen property records have to be completed as do exhibit labels and forensic evidence forms if exhibits are required to be examined.
Initial Witness Assessment
Report to Crown Prosecutor for Charging Decision – Decision Log and Action Plan
Further Report to Crown Prosecutor for Charging Decision
Custody System Form Charges
Custody System Form Charges
Custody System Form Conditional Bail Grant/Variation
Custody System Form Request to Vary Conditional Bail
Custody System Form Surety/Security
Police Officers' Discipline Record
Unused Material - Disclosure Schedule
Sensitive Material Schedule - not to be Disclosed
Police Schedule of Special Measures
Disclosure Officers Report
Initial Remand Application
Breach of Bail
Custody System Form - Witness Non-Availability
Witness Statement Continuation Sheet
Witness Statement CCTV
Witness Statement - Comms
Witness Statement One Interviewer
Witness Statement Two Interviewers
Witness Statement Additional Interviewer
Witness Statement - Road Policing Unit
Witness Statement Telecomms
Application for Order on Conviction
Record of Taped Interview
Evidence of Bad Character - Defendant
Other Offences (Taken Into Consideration)
Submission of Work for Scientific Examination
I think you will agree that is a lot of forms to fill in. The solution should be to give police forces a budget for admin so they can hire administration staff. They will then have to get rid of some of the forms (some won’t be needed) or they might go over budget.