Friday, 6 May 2011

Great myths in Policing. A series of ..Oh, probably at least two.

Number 1. There's too much paperwork.

This used to be true. I think I may even have commented on it once or twice.

Suddenly I find that the paperwork has evaporated. No more forms to be filled in in triplicate, no writing a suspects name over and over and over again. No trees being slain in the name of accountability.

There's two reasons for this change. Firstly, we have my forces lumbering but at least perceptible shift towards a paperless system. Actually I'm being harsh there and in the interests of integrity I have to come clean. My force has a pretty good computer system that links most intelligence/crime/custody and property screens. Well, the links are good, the systems a bitch to use and already showing its age but at least someone made the effort.
I do still find myself updating screen after screen but at least I can cut and paste which is more than most of my incompetent colleagues can manage.

The second reason is the creation of lots of little departments to do the work for us. I can now take a prisoner into the station, hand him over to the prisoner handling staff who will interview, hit, charge and do the court file. Brilliant! If a full file (a big one with all the information in the world in it) is needed another department will do that. They'll harass the witnesses, fob off solicitors and track the case through court. They'll also invariably manage to get the trial listed for when I'm on nights or a long weekend but I guess they have to get their chuckles somewhere.

So now I sit and hear David Cameron and Jaqui Smith and all the other clueless ones chuntering on about cutting paperwork and I know thay have no idea what they're talking about. They go for the easy soundbite, pre-programmed into the public consciousness. Police = paperwork. It's lazy campaigning

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