A raft of measures outlined by the Home Secretary today will save an estimated 2.5 million police hours – the equivalent of 1,200 police officer posts a year.
At a major speech at Church House in London Theresa May told the audience of police officers: ‘These reforms are a watershed moment in policing, showing that we really mean business in busting bureaucracy and allowing police to police and not fill in forms.’
Police should no longer expect police to be scrutinised by the Home Office or given top down targets she said.
Instead, they will be given the autonomy to manage themselves and be encouraged to come up will innovative ways to save time, money and cut crime.
Mrs May spoke about radical new time saving measures – for example, a process which allows police to inform defendants via post that they have been charged.
This will require the defendant to attend court on a specific date to answer the charge rather than calling the suspect back to the police station for charging. This would only happen in specific cases, she explained, but would save around 40,000 police officer hours annually.
Simplified crime recording process will also be championed, with forces encouraged to simplify their practices.
A review of crime statistics which is currently taking place could see the number of crime categories being reduced. This would reduce the amount of time spent filling out crime reports, saving around 95,000 hours of officer time each year.
And more efficient call handing processes, carried out by staff rather than police officers, should mean more efficient prioritising of incidents.
Meanwhile, a review by Sara Thornton, Thames Valley chief constable, is likely to see a reduction in the police service’s guidance by 2012.
This is likely to reduce current guidance from around 600 pieces of police guidance to fewer than 100, leading to significant savings for officers because they will no longer have to learn all of the guidance.
The Home Secretary congratulated chief constables in forces such as Avon and Somerset, Essex and Kent, and Hampshire and Thames Valley, who have achieved significant savings from outsourcing processes and sharing resources.
‘These are all examples of chief officers using their professional judgement to best deploy their resources in the fight against crime,’ she said.