If you are looking for Glamour, Gadgets and Grissom you won't find them here. Forget what you think you know about 'Forensics', these are the tales of one man and his brush. Of course these views do not represent the views of any Police Force or indeed reflect any Force Policies ya da ya.
Thursday, 11 October 2007
Paperwork within the Police force seems to be the issue of the month for a few people, thanks largely to PC Copperfield's expose on Panorama.
Also Insp Gadget's rant further highlighted the plight of your everyday Police Officer once they make an arrest, the amount of paperwork and time this requires is quite frankly obscene and for what? Accountability? It seems ridiculous to me that the only way of getting a clearer picture on how well a Police Force is doing is to give them more paperwork to do and make them reach Home Office targets that don't really reflect the good work that goes on out there. There is an irony somewhere in all of that.
I am immensely lucky that the level of paperwork required in my job is pretty insignificant compared to that of an officer. A standard CSI report would be - I went to the job at this time, I recovered this, this and this, this is how it happened and this is where I'm sending my exhibits. Then if lucky, if it identifies someone then a 2 page statement is all that is required to add to file. The unfortunate thing for us is there is no real accountability in our paperwork, our stats would show, I've been to 75 jobs this month, recovered evidence from 55 jobs which so far have identified 4 nominals. Not a true reflection of my workload really, say that in that particular month I spent a whole week working on a Murder, this would count as one job, greatly reducing my daily average. Unfortunately, as is happening with one particular force at the moment, the management look at these figures and thinks, hold on were not performing as well we should, or there isn't as much work for these guys as we thought. Lets give them something else to do, or lets get rid of people and save some money.
The truth is there is a lot of good work that goes on out there by all staff in the Police, that is unmeasurable, or is not reflected as well on a management report. There are so many subtleties involved in all manor of situations that cannot be accurately represented on a piece of paper. So whats the answer?, If I knew that I'd be Home Secretary, what I do think is that there needs to be some balance in all of this and large amount of TRUST! We need accountability to a certain degree, so we know how to deploy resources intelligently, prepare for the unimaginable and ensure we are heading in the right direction. We also need to trust those out on the front line are doing their best and when not, that those responsible for them (Supervision etc) are trusted to deal with it appropriately.
It seems so sad to me that most of this paperwork is written so the Government can say, we did this, please vote for us again. I'm sure if Officers were allowed to get on with their 'proper' job everyday, we wouldn't need figures or graphs because we would all feel the difference. (but unfortunately feelings can't be measured).