The last blog entry touched on how much time can be wasted on unnecessary change.
Now what about forced time wasting? Things we have no control over but have to do because of a policy agreed and driven by the Govt. Every Govt since I joined the job has said the police need to be freed of administrative burdens and bureaucracy. Yet without fail where they have taken away one form they have replaced it with another. The situation has never got any better.
Recent years have seen the introduction of RJ processes (these are good) and also conditional cautions (very good if used properly). The conditional cautions give us a great opportunity to satisfy the victim and have the offender see the true impact of his/her actions. But how much time is wasted on conditional cautions? Hours and hours and hours is the answer. The costs I wont even try to determine.
So why is this. Lets work on a simple damage offence. First off to be eligible for the conditional caution (CC) the offender must admit the offence. Second it must be an offence that is suitable for a CC and thirdly the previous history of the offender must not negate the issue of said CC. With all the factors met, the victim happy and the offender agreeable to the CC then the process can start. This involves putting a basic file together and sending it off to CPS to decide if we can do it. We can ask for compensation and letters of apology etc to be parts of the conditions.
Now you may think this sounds reasonable. The decision is taken away from the Custody Sgt and put in the hands of the prosecutor. Why? Well I’m told it is because if the offender fails to comply with the terms of the CC he/she will go to court and the CPS have to be happy the case would stand up in court. All still seems plausible.
But if we put this “offender” further down the line to the point where they cannot have the CC and must go to court… then I as Custody Sgt can send the offender straight to court without reference to the CPS. The CPS decision for an in custody case for a CC can take anything from 90 mins to 4hrs depending on whether it is CPS daytime or CPS direct overnight/weekend.
So, I’m authorised to send somebody to court without reference to the CPS. But for a lesser disposal that at worst could end up in court (just as if I had charged them) we spend hours chasing around to get the CPS to rubber stamp the decision?
Remember this is an admitted offence….. and they say we are inefficient.
I think the next post should be a bit more light hearted…..?