06 August 2006

Arresting Facts

Surprisingly for a Tory, I don't think we need to increase the number of police. In the long run I think that the numbers should be coming down - because what is more to the point is how the police are spending their time.

It takes five hours to process the average arrest in the UK. It takes less than two hours to check in all the passengers and luggage on to a Boeing 737, but it takes five hours to process every arrest!!!

I don't care what the reasons are for this dreadful waste of time, this should be the first thing to sort out in the criminal justice system. I don't think the benefits need to be spelt out, so I won't. I think an hour to process each arrest would be reasonable. But if someone can explain why the status quo is as it is I would appreciate it. I think I remember a policewoman telling me it had to do with form-filling and getting approval from a sufficiently senior colleague (which sometimes meant driving from one station to another). Please enlighten me. And let me know how we can achieve this simple objective.


Peter Smallbone said...

Any chance you could cite your source? I'd be interested to know what 'processing' includes - is it just arrest and release, or does it include interviews, PNC checks, waiting for lawyers to arrive, charging etc?

A parallel activity should be to look at why the number of sick days taken by police officers is so high, why it varies so much from region to region, and why only some forces seem able to start reducing it.

Praguetory said...

I recalled this figure from memory - this sort of detail sticks in my gullet. Then I checked it. I found that this figure is fairly widely reported.

Hansard has a reference to Blunkett referring/acknowledging this figure in both 2003 (exchange with Mark Francois) and 2004 (Home Office Strategic plan). The context of these references doesn't suggest complicated cases (e.g. arresting someone for urinating against the wall) but I'm not clear on when the clock stops and starts.

Scandalous isn't it?

Of course we should be benchmarking/sharing best practice (internationally too), but just a cursory look at Mr Ian Blair tells you what is really required to get on in today's "police service".

Snafu said...

I thought some of the problem lies in a lack of appropriate IT systems ensuring that details of any arrests need to be copied numerous times.

My cynical side suggests that it's because so much time is spent ensuring all ethnic monitoring forms are completed correctly...

Ellee Seymour said...

What is the average time in Prague?

Praguetory said...

Nice challenge Ellie, but I doubt that you'll find me holding Prague police up as a role model. Singapore seems like a fine place!

In fact I'm going to start putting a few less positive posts together re Prague - especially about their police. There's quite a bit of material knocking about at the mo.

Praguetory said...

Ellie - did you notice the bed tax update?