Belfast Telegraph

Officers 'spend more time on beat'

Police officers in Northern Ireland now spend an extra 90 minutes on the beat a day following drives to cut down on red tape, the chief constable has said.

Matt Baggott said implementing new technology to reduce the administrative burden had helped to increase the visibility of policemen and women within communities.

The region's top officer hailed the progress made as he joined with members of the Policing Board and Justice Minister David Ford to launch a three-year plan to improve PSNI performance.

The latest Policing Plan represents a departure from past blueprints agreed by the PSNI and board. Instead of focusing solely on numerical performance targets, the document also concentrates on the quality of the service, with community feedback central.

It demands action on specific areas, including organised crime rackets, ongoing paramilitary activity and the problem of alcohol related offending.

Mr Baggott said the overall levels of reported crime in Northern Ireland now sat at a 12-year low, following another drop last year.

"At the same time confidence levels in policing have increased," he added.

"It is my belief that this has been achieved by the continued commitment and professionalism of police officers and staff working in partnership with the communities they serve."

He added: "We are continually exploring new ways of engaging with local communities, and ensuring that officers and staff are available in the right numbers, in the right places at the right times to make a difference.

"Through the introduction of new technology and streamlined administrative processes we have already increased by almost an hour and a half the amount of time an officer spends on patrol per day."

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