ALL MY COPS TO GO BACK ON THE BEAT; EXCLUSIVE Chief orders deskbound officers to do 12 days on frontline.
SCOTLAND'S top police chief has ordered all his officers to get back on the beat.
New Strathclyde chief constable Steve House wants every deskbound officer to spend at least 12 days on the street each year.
It means many senior officers who have spent years insulated from frontline policing will be forced to mix with the public on routine duties for one day a month.
Studies show that more bobbies on the beat reduce crime by 15 per cent.
A force insider said: "It's no secret House is a big fan of getting bobbies pounding the beat and now he wants even the most jaded desk-bound staff to get out and meet the ordinary people they serve.
"No excuses will be accepted, with even the longest-serving desk sergeants having to get out there."
David Sinclair, of Victim Support Scotland, said: "As an organisation representing the victims of crime we would be delighted with any initiative which resulted in increased policemen on the beat."
Les Gray, chairman of Strathclyde Police Federation, said: "We think it's a fantastic idea. It's aimed at people within departments and will give them the chance to get back out there and keep their hand in.
"These people will be doing this as part of their working week, so there will be no overtime costs and they will be patrolling at peak times such as weekends."
Last year a Scottish Police Federation study revealed only one in 13 police is on the beat in Scotland at any time because of various of reasons including holidays and court attendance.
Another force, Central Scotland Police, announced in November they were hiring civilian "investigative assistants" in a controversial scheme branded the "fake blue line".
They hope the civvy staff will free up police time by carrying out tasks such as interviewing crime victims and witnesses.
Glasgow-born House has made a big impact since taking over the pounds 161,000 post from Sir Willie Rae, 57, last September.
In November he demanded more bobbies on the beat despite tightening funding.
His new order came after the SNP last year broke a pledge to hire an extra 1000 police officers by 2011.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill admitted only 500 will be hired with the rest redeployed from other duties.
A study this month found some of Scotland's most crime-ridden areas witnessed sharp drops in crime after the return of bobbies on the beat.
Regular foot patrols by Lothian and Borders officers who got to know local people saw a cut in offences by up to 15 per cent. A similar scheme in Glasgow where the number of city centre officers was quadrupled from about 15 or 20 to around 75, saw serious assaults fall by 38 per cent.
A Strathclyde Pol ice spokesman said: "One of the Chief Constable's main objectives is to free up officers to carry out operational duties on the frontline with the focus being on reducing violence.
"The theory behind the memo in question provides an innovative approach to releasing officers from other duties on a temporary basis to assist with frontline policing."
Labour justice spokeswoman Pauline McNeill said: "We should expect all officers to pitch in where appropriate.
"But there is suspicion it's motivated by the desperation the government are in to get police officers on the street."
To this: Cops pounding the beat; From this: Police desk job; Streetwise: Boss House
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|Publication:||Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Date:||Jan 27, 2008|
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