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Cutting police red tape

23 December 2008

Police forces are dropping the cumbersome 'stop and account' forms, and cutting forms for most crimes.

When asking people to 'stop and account', police forces are now only required to record ethnicity. The old lengthy forms replaced by this system took an average of 10 minutes to complete for each stop.

Police will also make more use of computers and radio systems, and other mobile technology rather than fill in forms.

Saving millions of hours of police time

As well as replacing the stop and account form, the Home Office has also brought forward the national changes to crime recording, four months earlier than planned.

From next week, all forces will be able to remove forms for less serious crimes to free up more police officers to be on the beat.

Combined, the changes could save as many as 7 million hours of policing time - equivalent to having 3,500 more police officers on the streets.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said the changes were a 'major step' in cutting police red tape.

'I am determined to support our police officers so that they spend more time out on your streets, fighting the crimes and issues that matter to you locally,' she said.

Making crime stats more comprehensive

The Home Secretary also announced that following a successful pilot, information about crimes committed by criminals under 16 years old will be included in future British Crime Survey.

A national consultation found that the move would help to make the statistics more thorough and complete.

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