Technology 'has changed police job'
The country's longest-serving police officer said officers today have to do "more or less twice the work" due to increased admin, as he prepared to retire after almost 50 years.
Pc Mick Mountain, 66, from Morden in south London, also said crime is down only because people have "too many problems" reporting it. The long-serving policeman is retiring from the Metropolitan Police Service on Wednesday after 47 years, and said the role is a "totally different job to when I joined".
Although he has had "the most fantastic career", Pc Mountain expressed frustration at how advances in technology have led to officers having to spend more time ensuring information is electronically filed.
When asked if he thought more time was being spent on admin than on fighting crime, Pc Mountain said: "Well I'm finding it is. I don't actually work in a police station obviously any longer. I work at the Palace of Westminster on security, so I don't get as much work as they do. From what I gather, yes it is the case, because I've tried to report crimes myself like any other citizen and it's a little more difficult than it used to be. 'Oh yes, could you call in? Or could you send us an email?'. I'm a policeman, I want to report it to a police officer, basically. And I think that is one of the reasons recently crime's gone down. People won't report it. Too many problems. But that's another issue."
Pc Mountain, who joined the police in 1966 after his father persuaded him to apply, said technology has "changed our whole job". In the past, Pc Mountain said officers would write and submit a report and do additional paperwork if needed, whereas now more time is taken up with ensuring all admin is completed electronically.
He said: "It's changed so much. It's changed our whole job." He added: "But we have to do more or less twice the work, because you do your paperwork, and then you've got to scan it in to the electronic side, because everything's now saved and dealt with electronically."
When asked if he felt any sympathy for young people coming into the job now, Pc Mountain said: "Yeah I will because it's a totally different job to when I joined in regarding the circumstances of the regulations and such." He added: "For the young kids it's quite difficult."
Pc Mountain also said that while people are still as violent as they were in the past, the public expects police officers to "behave in a different manner" now.
When asked if police officers today have to be more careful and cautious when on the job, he said: "Well most certainly, they have to, yeah. That's just the way the public expects us to behave in a different manner. I mean the people haven't changed. I mean, they're still as violent in some cases as they were then, but we have to approach it in a different manner, and of course we do, and our training is based towards that."
Despite the changes he has witnessed throughout his career, Pc Mountain, who has arrested thousands of criminals, said: "I've had a great time."