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Hampshire Police Federation

Police officers need less time at computers in order to deal with flood of demand

24 March 2022

Police Officers need to spend less time tied to computers “completing report after report” if they are to combat the flood of demand that is drowning the service, Hampshire Police Federation has warned.

Andy Cooke, the new head of Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Services, told MPs this week that up to 40% of officers’ time is taken up on mental health calls.

Mr Cooke told the Home Affairs Select Committee yesterday: “An awful lot of Police Officers' time is taken up looking for children missing from home and absent from care.

“If that's what the public and Parliament want Policing to do, that's fine. But you must bear in mind while they're doing that, they're not doing other things that they should be doing, like detecting crime.

“With the wide scope that Policing has, in my view there needs to be a decision made in relation to what we want from our police service moving forward, and whether other agencies need to step into some parts of that sphere.”

Zoë Wakefield, Hampshire Police Federation Chair, has spoken out about Police Officers stepping in to help where other agencies cannot.

Zoë said: “The primary role of Police is to save life and limb. Therefore it is very difficult to not deal with any incident, mental health, missing child, where there is potential for life to be at risk.

“The majority of Police Officers join to help people and make a difference, in whatever form that takes. Locking up the bad people is obviously a key part of that. There are not enough Police Officers to do everything so either other agencies need to step up or a huge investment in Policing is needed.

“There is still a ridiculous amount of bureaucracy in Policing and Officers spend far too much time tied to a computer completing report after report, justifying every decision they make. Changes would free up a significant amount of time that police officers can then spend on the streets helping those in need.”