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David Ruffley MP has demanded more action to curb local police red tape
I firmly believe that our police men and women are being hampered by unnecessary and useless red tape and paperwork. More needs to be done at a national level to take an axe to this paperwork, which is getting in the way of way of crime fighting. That is what every member of the public wants them to be doing.
I recently visited the local police HQ in Bury St Edmunds to experience first hand the impact needless form filling is having on our dedicated police officers.
I was shocked by the huge amount of paperwork that is keeping our hard working beat bobbies chained to the desk at the police station. Police officers should be freed from this burden so they can do what they most want to do – that is, fight crime on the streets.
At present police officers are spending less than two thirds of their time actually on the beat fighting criminals. This is not the fault of our dedicated Suffolk policemen and women. Our police officers in Suffolk are working hard and have cut some crime but they are being dragged down by Whitehall bureaucracy that prevents them from patrolling the streets and catching criminals.
I want to see a greater emphasis on neighbourhood policing and a greater say for local people on how police forces are run. I also want them to be backed up by more money to provide the extra 379 police officers across Suffolk that Michael Howard promises under a Conservative Government.
On my recent visit to the police station HQ in Bury I met some of our dedicated local police officers. Superintendent Mark Cordell said after our meeting: "We share David's concerns about the amount of time lost through bureaucratic duties. In West Suffolk we have taken steps to reduce the paperwork but never the less there is still a considerable amount of time spent on bureaucracy particularly in relation to investigations and making arrests. For example the regulations on investigations have placed on us a sizable bureaucratic process just to carry out the most basic observational functions.
In my view the steps my officers have to take to comply with regulations go way beyond what the public would expect. The bureaucracy prevents my officers from being as visible in the communities of West Suffolk as possible."
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