Paperwork policing problem: Officers are working on their days off because they are being tied up

Officers are working on their days off because they are being tied up with a ridiculous amount of paperwork, Hampshire Police Federation has warned.

Zoë Wakefield, Federation Chair, said: “It’s absolutely ridiculous how much time officers have to spend doing paperwork. It’s not just the redacting, but it’s the amount of paperwork that has to go into a file just to put the file to CPS to make a decision. It’s not going to court. They now have to pretty much get a file ready to go to court, just to get CPS to look at it to make a decision.

“All that time is wasted but they have to do so much. I speak to colleagues and they say it takes them a good two to three days to complete one file. The whole time they’re doing that one file, they’re not doing anything else, so their other work’s building up. We’ve got officers that are working overtime,  working on their days off because they know they’ve got a deadline and they haven’t had time to do it in their normal working hours because of other stuff that they’ve been dealing with.”

Zoë spoke to one colleague who had been assaulted so badly at work she needed to take time off, but the officer said she was grateful for the break so she could put three cases together at home while she was recovering. “It’s bonkers”, she added.

Thousands of officers across England and Wales are facing arduous workloads due to the unnecessary bureaucratic burden of redacting case files at the pre-charge stage.

The Police Federation of England and Wales has asked the Government to amend the Data Protection Act 2018 to enable police forces in England and Wales to safely share data with prosecutors at the pre-charge stage without excessive obligation to redact evidence. The Government has said it supports the amendment, but officers are still waiting for changes to be made.

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