The Truth About NCRS
For those of you who like statistics, here's a report produced in 2001 predicting the effects of NCRS. The bit that interests me is here: "Assuming the effect of NCRS to be an increase of between 10% and 20%... a 10% increase in crime recording amounts to an additional 80,000 hours or 3333 days of police resource time." Let's be clear, this statistic is based only on the INPUTTING of crime - ie the time spent on the phone to the crime inputters. It takes no account of the extra investigation or prosections which will ensue.
A police officer works approximately 1920 hours per year, not allowing for overtime. Therefore the introduction of NCRS requires 40 extra police officers to do the same job. When the government boasted about all the extra police officers they have employed, they never boasted that 40 of them would be on the phone recording crime every hour of the day.
But I don't think these figures show the true picture. The fact is that a good half of these "extra 10%" crime reports will end up being investigated, because if they sit undetected they count as negative statistics for the force. Most will have suspects who could be arrested, because the type of crime that used to go unrecorded were the petty "he said/she said/he hit me/she stole from me" squabbles. Using the 107,000 extra estimated recorded crimes from the above report, and assuming that half of these have suspects to prosecute, it doesn't take long to realise that NCRS could result in as many as 530,000 extra police hours, and most will never result in a useful prosecution because they weren't useful crime reports to start with (for the breakdown in how long it takes to deal with a suspect, see Wasting Police Time). **
My question is, if the government knew this in 2001 before NCRS swept the nation, where are the extra 300 police officers needed to cover the impact of NCRS, let alone the hundreds more required to do actual police work?
'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in all good bookstores and online.
** If you're wondering where my estimate of hours has come from, I have used my own team as a sample and worked out how many offences we are investigating that we would not have investigated pre-NCRS, and half of these have required an arrest or prosecution. Here's the breakdown:
Between five of us (yes, my team has dwindled somewhat since the book), we have the following ongoing investigations:
- 7 burglaries
- 6 assaults
- 2 harassments
- 9 thefts
- 1 drugs offence
- 1 racist incident
- 1 perverting the course of justice
- 3 dog bites
I've applied these figures conservatively (halved them) to produce the estimate of 530,000 hours nationwide. Yes, it's just a snapshot of one week, but I reckon you could pick any week at random on any team in any town in any force, and the figures would be similar.