Police chief hits at report

Norfolk's top police officer has hit back at claims increased government investment in forces has had little impact on crime levels. According to a parliamentary report published this week, a nationwide increase in police funding of more than 40 per cent, to £12 billion a year, appears to have had little impact on crime levels.

Norfolk's top police officer yesterday hit back at claims increased government investment in forces has had little impact on crime levels.

According to a parliamentary report published this week, a nationwide increase in police funding of more than 40 per cent, to £12 billion a year, appears to have had little impact on crime levels.

The Home Affairs Select Committee criticised chief constables for failing to make the best use of the tens of billions of pounds of taxpayers' money given to the service during the past decade.

The committee's report has found that, despite repeated efforts to cut down on paperwork, police spend an “unacceptably high” 20 per cent of their time doing it.

However, Norfolk chief constable Ian McPherson said a senior officer had been appointed to deal with this very issue - freeing up more frontline officers to engage with the public.

He said: “The reports could leave people with an impression that the Police service has been slow and inefficient in recent years.

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“That is most definitely not the case in Norfolk which remains one of the safest counties in which to live with relatively low levels of crime.

“Paperwork and bureaucracy are issues we have been actively looking at as we don't want to unnecessarily burden our frontline staff. We need them to spend their most productive time engaging with the public.

“In order to ensure this happens, I have personally appointed a senior officer to lead a bureaucracy-busting task force. His cross-functional team is working as part of a larger project to modernise the force aimed at increasing delivery while driving down costs.”

It comes after the British Crime Survey revealed that offences continue to fall across Norfolk - making it once again one of the safest places in the country to live, work and visit. Overall crime fell by 4pc in the past year.

The committee criticised the 43 forces in England and Wales for being slow to develop services that can be shared and for failing to use increased investment to maximum effect.

The unit said that increases in spending on the police “appear unrelated to productivity” and noted that “there is still little chance that a crime will be detected and result in a caution or a conviction”.