HASTINGS police are at the forefront of a new campaign to get bobbies away from their desks and back on the beat.
The Government wants to free up officers’ time by cutting down on time-consuming paperwork and Sussex Police is at the vanguard of the changes after announcing its own anti-bureacracy drive this week.
With the force looking to save £52 million by 2015 at the expense of 500 police officers and 550 police staff jobs, Chief Constable Martin Richards is keen to see his teams get back to what they do best.
Sussex Police has already saved 340 man hours a month by replacing a nine-step form for overtime with a simple online process.
He said: “We share the frustrations of our staff and are absolutely committed to tackling bureaucracy at all levels of the organisation.
“If we find that something doesn’t make sense, we’ll challenge it - we will be radical.
“This is a real opportunity. Our officers, if they are not filling out unnecessary paperwork, can be out liaising with the community and addressing their issues.
“If we get it right we will have a force fit for policing today and resilient enough to withstand the challenges of tomorrow.”
Police will also be given more leeway to use common sense out on the streets, encouraged to issue a warning or work out solutions that don’t drag low-level offenders through the courts,
“We trust our staff to use their discretion and want to encourage them to do so,” said deputy chief constable Giles York.
“It allows operational officers to use their professional judgement.
“This avoids criminalising some offenders while ensuring their victims are satisfied with the result.”
Nick Herbert MP, the policing minister was on hand to help launch the campaign, with the Government confident 2.5 million man hours could be saved through getting rid of red tape.
“I want to see a return to common sense policing so that officers can be crime fighters, not form writers,” he said.