Sunday, September 17, 2006

Where have all the coppers gone

A post to highlight how long it can take to process a prisoner.

An incident which happened a while ago, prior to promotion. It was one of those days when luck was with us. We were on way to a call that was a complete waste of time (it was that rubbish, I can't remember what it was). Myself and my colleague were moaning about how rubbish this call was when we turned into a quiet, narrow residential street on way to see the informant.

I need to skim over some of the detail here just in case a colleague recognises the story (yes, I am that paranoid) but one short vehicle chase later a burglar driving a car stolen by means of burglary tries to run away but soon realises I am not the donut eating stomach massaging type of cop. He gives up.

I ought to add that the only thing harmed in the making of this vehicle chase was the stolen car, an unfortunate lamp post and the scumbag's ego.

Anyway, excitement over. Start the clock.

I wait with stolen car to await recovery. 1 1/2 hours
(Another unit tied up reporting the accident because it was a police chase- time taken, 1 hr
Return to custody. Colleague has just finished basic booking in procedure with prisoner.
Fingerprint, photograph and take DNA sample from prisoner. 1/2hr.
Seize all his clothing which has to be forensically bagged and exhibited: 45mins
Seize and forensically bag items from burglary that were still in car: 45mins
Research, risk assess and carry out search of home address of prisoner: 1 1/2 hr
Write notes describing circumstances and justification of arrest: 1 1/2hr
Crime report relating to aggravated vehicle-taking: 45 mins
Intelligence reports: 15mins

Approximate time: 7 1/2 hours. For the CID officers taking the prisoner on, there are now hours of paperwork preparing a case file. Which includes a typed statement of exactly what was said in interview; a list detailing every single exhibit and piece of correspondence connected with the investigation, its location and relevance to the case; and a summary of the overall case.

CPS prosecutors at court often only get the files relating to the case the morning of the court hearing. These files can be inches thick. Often, the only thing they read regarding the entire case prior to going into court, is the case summary.

But thats a different story. My point: next time you're pulled over for a bust brake light or something and you accuse the officer of not catching burglars, be grateful. If they had caught one, they wouldn't be out on patrol at all.