Red tape 'cripples police'

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The Independent Online

The police chief of one of Britain's largest forces has complained that his constables are so constrained by bureaucracy that they spend just 10 per cent of their time fighting crime.

The police chief of one of Britain's largest forces has complained that his constables are so constrained by bureaucracy that they spend just 10 per cent of their time fighting crime.

Bob Quick, the Chief Constable of Surrey, voiced his concerns a week after the Chief Constable of Nottingham, Steve Green, said his force was unable to cope with an increasing number of murder investigations.

Chief Constable Quick said that during their four years of training, constables spend around 90 per cent of their time filling forms.

"Only about 10 or 12 per cent of their time are they doing things that I feel constables should do. We are not tackling the really vociferous, persistent criminals that need to be tackled," he told The Sunday Telegraph.

The Conservative leader, Michael Howard, said the Chief Constable's comments increased pressure on Tony Blair to address the issue. "People want bobbies on the beat, not stuck behind their desks with Biros," he said.