One in five police officers is unavailable for operational duties, research claims.
A poll of senior officers who run “basic command units” across England and Wales found that on average 5% of officers are sick, 5% are seconded to headquarters, 5% are on training and 4% of posts are vacant.
In total, 19% of the workforce is unavailable for operational duties at any one time, the poll by think-tank Policy Exchange said. Government targets have served to increase bureaucracy and stifle innovation, the survey added.
Policy Exchange polled all 228 superintendents who run basic command units, with a 68% response rate.
In all, 71% of superintendents believed the Home Office’s reporting requirements had a negative impact on the quality of policing in their area. And 85% of superintendents regarded the number of officers unavailable for operational duties as a problem.
Police operational duty shortage