Tying boys in blue up in pointless red tape

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To help reduce bureaucracy within the police service, all forces have been ordered, by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, to begin monitoring how much officer and staff time has been freed up by the policies put in place to reduce bureaucracy, and establish how they then use the extra time freed up by that reduction in bureaucracy!

That’s not a joke! This is just one of 40 so called recommendations issued to the police in the latest HMIC report called ‘Core Business’. I say, so called recommendations, because in truth they are national dictats, which must be complied with and to very strict timescales.

A considerable amount of police time, effort and resources is now going to be committed to the development and implementation of processes to ensure Lancashire Police and other forces can pass a future inspection in relation to the issues raised within this report.

HMIC has no interest in how much it costs to deliver the requirements they have set out, nor are they bothered about finding out what valuable police work would have been carried out by the staff, had they not been working on this matter.

HMIC simply demand this work is conducted as a priority and will publicly report any failure to deliver. Although there are some important qualitative issues raised in the report, none appear urgent.

At the end of the process, the full implementation of these issues is unlikely to have any significant improvement in the quality of service currently being provided to the public of Lancashire.

The main argument for the introduction of Police and Crime Commissioners was to give the public a say in setting the priorities for their local police service.

Neither the Lancashire PCC, nor any member of the public will have a say in whether these issues should be implemented and if they are, what priority they should be given.

If the government is serious about the PCC role, which they created, then any demand made by HMIC should firstly be directed to the elected PCC for their consideration.

Not for them to necessarily veto the issue but for them to decide on the priority the matter is given and to agree any timescale for implementation. HMIC should also be held accountable for the cost their inspections and reports inflict on individual forces.