Police: Bureaucracy

Home Department written question – answered on 30th March 2010.

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Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what five types of activity, excluding front-line policing, accounted for most police officer time in each year since 1997.

Photo of Alan Johnson Alan Johnson The Secretary of State for the Home Department

Front-line policing was defined in Home Office Guidance on Statutory Performance Indicators for Policing 2007-08, to include the following activities which have been measured using policy activity analysis (AA): dealing with crime incidents; dealing with non-crime incidents; visible patrol; special operations/events; investigate complaints; deal with informants; and community involvement.

In each of the years between 2003-04 and 2007-08, the first three of these categories were consistently the activities on which the police spent most time. After the activities which comprise front-line policing, the same five activities took up the greatest proportions of police time over the same 2003-04 and 2007-08 period. They were, in descending order of time taken:

Non-incident-related paperwork

Briefings/meetings

Other non-incident-related work

Refreshments

Other managerial/supervision.

The amount of time spent annually on these activities in total over the period 2003-04 and 2007-08 was as follows:

2003-04: 26.9 per cent;

2004-05: 7.6 per cent;

2005-06: 26.9 per cent;

2006-07: 24.3 per cent;

2007-08: 25.6 per cent.

To reduce paperwork burdens on police officers, the collection of data about time spent by officers on police activities ceased after 2007-08 in response to the recommendations by Sir David Normington in his review of data burdens placed by the Government on the police service published in February 2009.

Table A: proportion of time spent or policing activities, by activity and year
Activity 2003-04 2004-05 200-06 200-07 200-08
Violence against the person-S20 and more serious 3.2 2.9 3.0 3.0 3.3
Violence against the person-S47 and less serious 3.0 3.4 3.9 4.4 4.1
Sexual offences 2.0 2.0 2.3 2.2 2.3
Burglary dwelling 3.1 2.8 2.5 2.8 2.8
Burglary-commercial and other 1.5 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.2
Robbery 1.7 1.8 1.8 2.0 2.2
Theft of or from motor vehicle 2.2 1.9 2.0 1.9 1.8
Deception/fraud 1.2 1.3 1.3 1.5 1.2
Theft other 3.4 3.0 3.1 3.4 3.4
Drugs offences 2.3 2.4 2.8 2.6 2.8
Criminal damage 2.2 2.3 2.3 2.5 2.2
Other crime 4.4 4.2 4.4 5.5 5.4
RTA fatal/serious 0.9 1.1 1.2 1.2 1.1
RTA minor injury/damage 1.5 1.6 1.5 1.5 1.3
Traffic Other 2.8 3.0 2.9 2.9 2.7
Public disorder 1.8 1.9 2.1 1.6 2.0
Domestic dispute 1.5 1.6 1.8 2.0 2.2
Complaint/nuisance 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.2 1.0
Prostitution 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1
False alarms 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2
Missing person 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.4 1.2
Sudden/suspicious death 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.8 0.7
Other non crime 3.2 2.9 2.7 3.1 3.1
Visible Patrol 14.8 15.7 14.4 14.0 14.4
Court duties/escort 0.5 0.6 0.5 0.6 0.5
Special operations/events 2.2 2.0 1.6 1.7 1.8
Investigate complaints 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2
Deal with informants 0.3 0.2 0.3 0.3 0.3
Community Involvement 1.1 1.3 1.3 1.4 1.3
Property enquiries 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.3 0.3
Non incident enquiries 1.8 1.6 1.5 1.4 1.5
Crime prevention activity 0.5 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4
Prison interviews 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1
Training 2.0 1.7 1.6 1.4 1.7
Briefings/meetings 6.9 6.6 6.4 5.9 6.5
Non incident linked paperwork 7.8 6.6 6.5 6.5 7.3
Other non incident related work 4.5 6.5 6.3 4.6 4.3
Staff development/appraisal/personnel related 0.8 0.7 0.7 0.9 0.8
Monitoring cellblock PACE (Domain 2) 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.3 0.3
Relief custody duties (Domain 2) 0.5 0.6 1.2 1.1 0.4
Call handling/relief control room duties/enquiry desk 0.2 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.1
Checking paperwork (supervisory) 1.8 1.6 1.6 1.6 1.8
Budgetary/financial 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1
ID parades 0.2 0.1 0.3 0.3 0.1
Other managerial/supervision 2.9 3.2 3.2 3.1 3.3
Refreshments 4.8 4.7 4.5 4.2 4.2
Waiting time 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.3 0.3
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
All crime 30.1 29.3 30.7 33.1 32.6
All non-crime incidents 15.1 15.2 15.3 16.0 15.6

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