police, saving time and money for police forces in England and Wales,
were unveiled by the government today.
'Making a Difference: Reducing Police Paperwork', is the first report
provide ways of reducing the burden of bureaucracy in the public
The report examines the impact of paperwork on front-line police
officers, identifying forms that are a burden to the police. It sets
out practical solutions that will lead to a significant reduction in
the amount of time police have to spend on paperwork by simplifying
or removing forms from the system.
Cabinet office minister Mo Mowlam said:
'Front-line staff working in the public sector should be able to
carry out their jobs in the most efficient and effective way
possible. One common complaint is that they are prevented from doing
so by the amount of bureaucracy and red tape they have to deal with.
'The public sector team has been created to come up with solutions
that will make a difference to front-line service deliverers such as
the police, extending the good work being carried out by the
regulatory impact unit in the private sector.
'The work of the public sector team will contribute to reducing red
tape so that public sector workers can spend more time on what they
are good at: serving the public and delivering quality services, not
filling out forms.'
Key recommendations made in the report include:
- removing the need for police officers to fill out Prisoner Escort
Records (which must be completed every time a prisoner enters police
custody) - in 80% of cases. The team established that only 20% of
prisoners are moved from one location to another. This will mean
that from 31 August 2000, one million fewer forms will need to be
filled in, bringing estimated savings in police time of 166,000 hours
which is equivalent to 90 police officers' standard working hours a
year. Employing that many additional officers would cost around£4.9m;
- simplifying procedures used in the preparation and processing of
case files. Six forms will be removed altogether from the Manual of
- reviewing Joint Performance Management Forms - TQ1 (used by the
Crown Prosecution Service and the police to monitor file quality and
timeliness), to see if there are possibilities for reducing the
administrative burdens the forms generate.
Charles Clarke, home office minister said:
'Police face particular burdens with form filling and red tape -
ensuring they follow correct procedure at all times. I welcome the
work that the public sector team has done with the police and home
office officials to look at the problem in this area, and the report
will help to reduce that burden.
'We are committed to improving the efficiency of police forces across
the country, helping police officers to spend more time on the
front-line, fighting crime rather than filling in forms. We have
worked closely with the public sector team in developing the action
to be taken to relieve the burden on the police. We will be
considering all the recommendations in the report seriously and
implementing them where ever possible.'
The report was produced following a six week study of police
paperwork and is the first stage of the public sector team's work in
this area. The team talked to front-line officers about the forms
they use as part of their day to day work. The team also conducted a
telephone survey of all 43 police forces in England and Wales and
consulted with key stakeholders including the Association of Chief
Police Officers, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Home Office.
Forthcoming reports by the team will look at how to reduce the burden
of paperwork on GPs, schools and local government.
1. Copies of the 'Making a Difference: Reducing Police
Paperwork' report are available from the public
sector team by calling 020 7238 2362.
2. The public sector team was established in November 1999, in
response to the government's concern about the increased burden of
red tape on the public sector. The team is based within the
regulatory impact unit in the cabinet office. The team's remit is to:
- identify the major bureaucratic and regulatory burdens on the
- distinguish those burdens imposed by central government from those
imposed for other reasons eg as part of internal management systems
- recommend ways in which the regulatory burden might sensibly be
3. The terms of reference of the 'Making a Difference: Reducing
Police Paperwork' report were to:
- identify paperwork and forms that are considered a burden to the
- rigorously challenge why such forms are being used
- assess the implications of their removal or amendment
- identify a process to reduce the burden