Johnson ‘slims down’ stop-and-search forms

By staff

Alan Johnson will pledge today to introduce new measures to save police time on the beat.

In a speech later to the Police Superintendents’ Association, the home secretary will announce that police officers will no longer have to fill out lengthy paperwork when they stop and search people.

Instead, officers will only be required to record the ethnicity of the person stopped and the reason why they were searched.

Currently, police have to fill out a complicated and detailed form – regardless of whether an arrest is made.

The paperwork was introduced after the Macpherson Report into the death of black student Stephen Lawrence but has long been criticised as time-wasting bureaucracy by police.

Mr Johnson will say: “In the forthcoming policing, crime and private security bill, we will take the first steps towards radically slimming down the form for such incidents.”

However, Liberal Democrats said the moves did not go far enough.

Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said:”Police red tape has been the subject of countless reviews and endless warm words in the last decade, but we still have too many officers pushing paperclips and not enough on patrol.”

The home secretary is also expected to enter the debate over political interference in policing.

Yesterday, Met commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson called on politicians of all parties to stop meddling in the day-to-day work of fighting crime.

His comments came just weeks after GLA deputy Kit Malthouse said he and London mayor Boris Johnson had their “hands on the tiller” of the Met.