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Beccles police chief's red tape burden

PUBLISHED: 09:53 14 August 2008 | UPDATED: 07:35 01 August 2010

A police inspector who is retiring after 30 years in the force has criticised the burden of bureaucracy his officers have to deal with.

Tim Powell, who has run the Beccles area team for the past five years, said he would not miss the mountain of paperwork that gets in the way of officers' hands-on work when he retires at the end of the month.

A police inspector who is retiring after 30 years in the force has criticised the burden of bureaucracy his officers have to deal with.

Tim Powell, who has run the Beccles area team for the past five years, said he would not miss the mountain of paperwork that gets in the way of officers' hands-on work when he retires at the end of the month.

He said: “The paperwork and bureaucracy has increased over my 30 years. It is something which is a burden to operational officers and keeps them off the street. Any degree of bureaucracy which prevents officers being on patrol must affect performance.”

He added that he found it frustrating to have to file a report following each minor incident. “If I stop you in the street and ask you where you have been, I am required to fill out a form and give you a copy just for speaking to you. I would question whether that is necessary or of any value. We could easily do without it.”

Insp Powell said the amount of paperwork was unacceptable and needed to be looked at by the Home Office. He said: “In my view it needs to be seriously looked at and a lot of it can be taken away.”

But the inspector has enjoyed his time with the Beccles team and has seen many improvements since joining them in 2003. The area, which includes Beccles, Bungay, Hales-worth and Southwold, has been the best-performing neighbourhood in Suffolk for several years. Between April 2007 and March 2008, the team managed to reduce crime by nearly 10pc.

Insp Powell said: “I've had a good five years in Beccles. We have managed to reduce crime and I think the performance of the sector is the thing I am most proud of.

“Our crime figures show a reduction in all the key categories - reduction in burglaries, in violent crime and in motor vehicle crime and criminal damage. That's good going.”

He admitted he had been lucky working in a patch with relatively low crime levels. He said the Beccles area had not succumbed to the current trend for knife crime.

The father-of-two said he had been calling for CCTV cameras to be put up in Beccles, Bungay, Halesworth and Southwold to help further deter criminals and was still hopeful this would happen.

He said: “I have told the town councils and Waveney District Council that we could greatly benefit with CCTV. At some point the council need to put their hands in their pockets.”

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