Staffordshire Police plans to get bobbies away from 'desk jobs' and back on the beat as cuts start to bite
UP TO 40 fit bobbies are working in 'desk jobs' at a time when the number of police officers in Staffordshire has fallen to an historic low.
Budget cuts have seen the number of officers employed by Staffordshire Police fall from a 2006 peak of 2,347 to 1,915 this year.
But new figures show up to 40 fit officers are working in 'back office' jobs.
The police federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, said redundancies hitting non-policing roles have seen officers drafted in to cover desk jobs.
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Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis said he wants every health officer working on the frontline unless there is a 'very good reason' for them to be deskbound.
The overall number of fit officers in 'non-operational' positions is 67, but the total includes officers in senior management positions including the Chief Constable.
Mr Ellis said: "Unless there is a very good reason for a warranted officer doing something that an unwarranted member of staff can do then they should not be doing it.
"This is something I have inherited and it will take time to solve. One of the 21 reviews I have initiated is looking at exactly this area.
"It isn't always black and white, but warranted officers need to be doing jobs that a warrant is required for because they are more expensive, have quite a lot of powers and the public want them out there policing."
Back office roles which are sometimes covered by frontline police include answering 999 calls, planning for events and working on 'partnership' jobs with other authorities, as well as administrative functions like performance monitoring.
Mr Ellis has pledged to free up more officer time for frontline policing by providing new technology to cut the amount of time travelling back to stations to file paperwork.
He estimates that only 11 per cent of police time is spent 'out and about.'
Alan Joinson, chairman of East Bentilee Residents' Association, said: "All police should be able to get out on to the streets, policing. The jobs in the offices should be done by admin staff.
"Police on the beat is what we pay our council tax rates for – and not just nicking motorists, but actually helping to stop things like burglaries.
"When people see police on the streets it's a deterrent."
Graham Liddiard, Staffordshire Police's director of resources, said: "The number of fit officers who are not in operational roles is 67 but that does include some officers in senior positions, others who are in management roles and some who are in Home Office roles.
"The figure is already low against a total of more than 1,900, but it is actually between 30 and 40.
"We are intending to get that figure lower."