Police spend more time on the beat

OFFICERS in Suffolk are dedicating more hours to frontline policing and wasting less time on bureaucracy, figures revealed today.

OFFICERS in Suffolk are dedicating more hours to frontline policing and wasting less time on bureaucracy, figures revealed today.

Bobbies were on the beat for nearly two thirds of their contracted hours - up six per cent from 59.5pc in 2005/06 to 66.2pc a year later.

Home office minister Tony McNulty said the figures, which have only been collected by the government since 2003/04, did not include a range of “essential, but not frontline activities” including time spent at court, crime prevention activities, custody duties, operational planning, and call handling.

The statistics have come to light following a parliamentary question tabled by Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley.

They reveal that time spent on frontline policing by Suffolk officers is 2pc above the average for England and Wales.

Suffolk police spokesman Simon Stevens said the latest provisional figures for 2007/08 revealed a further increase in frontline duties up to 67.9pc.

Most Read

He said: “Suffolk is a safe county - and we take pride in keeping it safe by providing a visible and accessible service to local people.

“The constabulary continues to look for opportunities to increase the amount of time officers spend on front-line duties.

“Recently, the constabulary took a lead in making frontline policing even more effective after it become one of just three forces nationwide to receive Home Office funding for a programme looking at key areas of policing, including ways of helping officers stay on patrol rather than having to return to the station.”

One area which has helped Suffolk has been the development of Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs), which have been up-and-running for more than a year and provide a highly visible presence in communities across the county.

Mr Stevens said: “An extensive review of their work has identified ways in which they can be even more efficient in dealing with issues affecting their local communities.

“During the course of this year, the constabulary aims to boost SNTs with a further ten police community support officers, with another ten through match-funding arrangements with partner agencies.”

Should police spend less time filling in paperwork? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

03/04 04/05 05/06 06/07

Suffolk 62.9 60.6 59.5 66.2

England and Wales 62.0 62.3 63.6 64.2