By changing the way police forces work and stripping out bureaucratic processes, officers can be freed up to do the job they joined to do - fight crime and protect the public.
The government is clear that the police should focus on police work, not paperwork. The benefits of doing so can have a real impact, including:
- improved public protection through better targeting of police resources and increased visibility of frontline officers
- increased morale and professionalism of the police service
- greater police productivity through increased efficiency and effectiveness
The Home Secretary has announced a package of policies that will cut police red tape and save 4.5 million police hours, which is the equivalent of 2,100 police officers a year.
However, the reducing bureaucracy programme is not just about scrapping unnecessary paperwork and processes, action is also being taken to challenge the culture of risk aversion that has developed in policing. Officers all too often collect information just in case it is needed rather than being able to apply a 'common sense' approach. That is why we are creating a police professional body (PPB) this year to further develop professionalism in policing.
Working with partners
We've taken a new approach to tackling police red tape by setting up a joint Home Office and Association of Chief Police Officers reducing bureaucracy programme board, chaired by Chief Constable Chris Sims.
The board's membership includes Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, the National Policing Improvement Agency and the Association of Police Authorities. The board is taking forward a comprehensive programme to cut bureaucracy across the police service, and is informed by the reducing bureaucracy practitioners group, which draws on the operational experiences of frontline police officers to make its recommendations.
Much progress has been made already, with further improvements on the way. You can find out more about our work throughout this section.