A pilot scheme of mobile prisons in crime hotspots – where police could process, fingerprint and fine criminals without needing to leave their beat and return to a faraway police station – is the headline proposal in the Conservative Party’s plans to allow the police to concentrate on policing.

It is included in a new paper, Back on the Beat, published last night by David Ruffley, the shadow police reform minister, and you can download it directly as a pdf here or through the Conservative Party website. It comes at the end of a week where the recently appointed shadow home secretary, Chris Grayling, made his first speech in that role.

The main proposals included in the document are:

  • A pilot of new specially-designed mobile urban gaols (“MUGs”) to go into crime hotspots that are afflicted by, for instance, knife crime and antisocial disorder. Police will be able to deal with more offenders more quickly without having to go all the way back to the police station. MUG’s can reduce the time offenders spend off the beat. MUGs will also mean a more visible police presence for the public.
  • Reforming one of the biggest police paper chases of them all – the police having to fill in the length MG6 disclosure forms for the lawyers in the CPS.
  • Abolition of statutory charging for a large number of offences – this means giving back powers to custody sergeants to charge offenders without having to fill in forms for the CPS lawyers and then spend further time waiting for those lawyers to make a charging decision. (David Ruffley first announced this policy in an article on ConservativeHome in November last year)
  • Scrapping the current ‘RIPA’ rules that make a policeman fill in multiple forms every time he wants to stakeout a known burglar’s house or carry out plain clothed surveillance.
  • Cutting the paperwork of stop and search recording.

David Ruffley said:

"Twelve years of Labour red tape and bureaucracy have wasted police
time, keeping them away from front line crime-fighting. Labour have a
criminal record – antisocial disorder, gun crime, violence, robbery,
knife crime and stabbings are all up on their watch.

"We need to take the handcuffs off the police and put them on the criminals. The public want the police back on the beat which is where the police also want to be and these proposals are a start in achieving just that."

Jonathan Isaby

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