Daily Mail

...as police accused of fighting crime ONE day a week

- By David Barrett Home Affairs Editor

POLICE officers spend just one day a week fighting crime, a senior prosecutor has told MPs.

The Crown Prosecutio­n Service’s Gregor McGill said officers typically spend just 20 per cent of their time on ‘criminal justice’.

The rest of the time is absorbed by ‘safeguardi­ng, crime prevention and other work’, he told the Commons’ home affairs committee.

Mr McGill called for changes that would see police return to having a ‘proper focus’ on crime-fighting.

He told MPs: ‘Senior police officers – [like] Nick Ephgrave who’s the retiring assistant commission­er at the Metropolit­an Police – they will say that if you talk to a police officer they spend about 20 per cent of their time on criminal justice.

‘If you put that across a five-day week a typical policeman spends one day a week on criminal justice.

‘They will do lots of other things – they will do safeguardi­ng, crime prevention and other types of work.

‘But, actually, criminal justice has been a declining part of the police’s work for a number of years.

‘And I think going back to ensuring that the police have a proper focus on criminal justice will be very positive.’

Committee chairman Dame Diana Johnson said: ‘That is quite a surprising comment to hear – that the police don’t have a focus on criminal justice.’

Mr McGill, the CPS’s director of legal services, said police had become required to respond, for example, to people suffering mental health emergencie­s.

‘If you go to a school and ask a child, “What does a police officer do?”, they would say, “Catch criminals”,’ he said. ‘But they spend less and less time doing that.’

The CPS chief called for action to ensure more lower-level crime leads to charges and prosecutio­n.

‘All crime has a corrosive effect on the victim of that crime and we need to make sure there is a proper priority given to all of that,’ he said.

Latest figures show fewer than one in 18 crimes reported to police lead to a suspect being taken to court, even though recorded crime has soared to record levels.

Data, published in January, showed police in England and Wales recorded a high of 6.5 million offences in the year to June. Over the same period the number of alleged offenders charged fell to 5.4 per cent, according to separate Home Office figures. In 2015 it stood at 15.5 per cent.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom