Police spend only half of their time on 'front line'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The police spend only about half of their time out of the office on frontline duties, a Home Office study revealed yesterday.

The police spend only about half of their time out of the office on frontline duties, a Home Office study revealed yesterday.

The surprisingly low figure was disclosed in a report on police performances that found that officers were getting better at investigating and reducing crime. The performance of police forces has improved in the past year in almost every category tested, although the number of detected crimes has fallen by 0.3 per cent to 18.8 per cent of recorded offences.

The Home Office's police performance monitoring report revealed that the police spend 63 per cent of their time on "frontline" duties. But Hazel Blears, the Police minister, said yesterday that for about 10 per cent of that time the officers were actually behind a desk, doing paperwork relating to the "frontline" cases they were working on.

Police work out of the office includes patrolling, community liaison, surveillance, dealing with incidents and interviewing suspects. The Home Office has pledged to cut the amount of future paperwork and increase time spent on frontline policing by 10 per cent in England and Wales by 2007-2008.

The force which spent the least time on frontline policing was Gwent with 54 per cent, 44 per cent if the case file work is deducted. The force which spent the most was Bedfordshire with 70 per cent - or 60 per cent without the paperwork.