07 February 2008

Police Paperwork

One of the outcomes of Ronnie Flanagan's review is that civilians should do much of the paperwork currently completed by police officers. No surprise there then, one of the ways that New Labour have been able to make their claim about record numbers of police officers has been to get rid of civilian staff and replace them with police - who still do the same job. That is why the emphasis has to be about police on the beat not on the number of officers.

I have been out with the police on patrol a couple of times. Both times I was impressed with the professionalism and dedication I saw, both from the police and from PCSOs, but the amount of form filling when they stopped young children with alcohol was a surprise to me and it is something that needs to be sorted - why can't we move to a wider use of "helmet-cams" as a way of recording information.

I will never understand the notion that a unifromed officer can go out on patrol without powers of arrest or a power to detain - which is what our PCSOs do. That is not a criticism of PCSOs by the way, but a criticism of the political structure that allows such a ludicous system to come into being. As an example, what happens if a PCSO stops someone on suspicion of drink-driving (for instance after seeing someone stagger out of a car to a cash point machine) only to find that they have no immediate access to a breathalyser and have to wait for someone to arrive with the right equipment. As the law stands at the moment they have no power to detain that person after 30 minutes -a drunk driver gets away.



Blogger PCSO Bloggs said...

I've addressed this in my post here - http://policecommunitysupportofficer.blogspot.com/2008/05/more-on-police-numbers.html

4:08 PM  

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