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Cops to encounter cut in form filling; CRIME: Police pilot scheme aimed at reducing time-consuming paperwork.

Byline: By Kat Keogh

WEST Midlands Police are set to pilot a new scheme in a bid to cut down on time consuming paperwork.

The force is taking part in a national pilot aimed at reducing the time it takes to record stop and encounter procedures.

A stop and encounter is when an officer stops a person to account for their movements and is different from stop and search, where officers have grounds to carry out a physical search.

The move comes after an independent policing review recommended scrapping the current form used by officers to record encounters.

More than 186,000 encounter forms were filled out by officers in the West Midlands last year, which take around seven minutes to complete before reaching a supervisor.

Each form then requires scanning, inputting and filing.

Under the new guidelines, officers will instead use their police radio to record details of the reporting officer, plus the time, date and location and the ethnicity of a person stopped.

It is estimated that more than 21,000 hours could be saved across the force every year.

Assistant Chief Constable Chris Duffield said the scheme was a real way forward.

He said: "We are delighted to have been asked to take part in this new pilot, which will believe will help reduce bureaucracy.

At the same time we hope it will improve the interaction between of- ficers and the people they are speaking to by making it less intrusive."

A business card will be handed to the person being stopped to provide them with contact details of the officer.

Current procedures for stop and search remain unchanged.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Oct 29, 2008
Words:272
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