Justice Secretary Jack Straw has told the BBC he is "sceptical" about claims by some police that they are overworked and spend hours filling in forms. He said some officers "quite enjoy" being in the station "in the warm" and some forces did better than others. Often the difference was due, not to resources, but to the "discipline and culture" within the force, he said.But Simon Reed, vice-chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said the remarks were "irresponsible and inflammatory".
"It wasn't police officers who brought in 3,000 new laws, it wasn't police officers who brought in a 30-page prosecution file and it wasn't police officers who brought in multiple forms and authorities to use a pair of binoculars," he said. "This was all done by politicians. Police officers are not the architects of bureaucracy, they and the public are the victims of it."
Chris Grayling has been quick to react...
What we have now is a group of Ministers who are utterly out of touch with what is really happening in policing. They heap more and more bureaucracy onto our police, leaving them filling in form after form, often with the same information on it, and then pretend that nothing is wrong. It's not police officers who are sitting at their desks in the warm - it's Ministers stuck in their ivory towers. They should get out a bit more and find out what is really going on.
I don't know what proportion of police officers vote Labour. But if any of them heard Jack Straw's interview (click HERE and scrol to 8.40) I suspect the number will have halved.