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Last Updated: Monday, 17 September 2007, 20:24 GMT 21:24 UK
Career Disillusionment
Police compare evidence
Arresting a suspect can involve days of red tape
Former officer Johnno Hills sacrificed his career after he went public with his concerns about the target driven pressure the police are under.

Johnno handed in his resignation earlier this year after giving an interview to a Sunday newspaper which had not been approved by his superiors.

He voiced his concerns about the effect targets were having on the way officers do their jobs, and the paperwork they have to put up with.

Despite now being free to speak about his time as a police officer, he prefers not to show his face on camera because of sensitivities with his current job.

He is now campaigning for police reform and has set up his own website, realpoliciing.co.uk

Frustrated and disillusioned

Johnno told Panorama: "We are never there on the streets to provide reassurance, to provide a deterrent and to prevent people from becoming a victim of crime.

"I left feeling frustrated and disillusioned and an overwhelming sense that I simply could not do the job I joined to do."

Sussex Police said that they had made it clear that Johnno did not need to resign, but his determination to pursue these issues as a matter of principle in the way that he did compromised his role as a police officer.

Repetitive paperwork

Johnno Hills joined the police in 2003 in Thames Valley before transferring to Sussex.

He became disillusioned with the sheer levels of paperwork, meaning, he says, he spent more time in the station than on the streets. He told Panorama that he spent two thirds of his shift in the station.

The pressure to meet detection targets encourages officers to 'cherry pick' offences that are easiest to clear up
While he accepts the police must be accountable, Johnno said: "it's about the duplication, it's about the repetition, it's about filling in one form and then filling in another 30 forms with exactly the same information as the first form that I filled out. So I'm no more accountable after form number 30 than I am after form number one."


And he says, that the pressure to meet detection targets encourages officers to "cherry pick" offences that are easiest to clear up.

He said: "If it came to the 28th day of the month and I only had one or two detections when my quota was five , then yes, I would specifically seek out very, very low level crime and I would be dealing more readily with people who weren't ever certain to become career criminals rather than getting in the faces of the people I ought to have been dealing with."

He told Panorama: "The station will empty for a shoplifting because it is an instant result, it's an instant tick in the box.

"For a crime that's happened a couple of days ago, where there's no likelihood of something on the end of it, that will wait.

Police statement

Sussex Police told Panorama that after speaking to the press Johnno Hills "was reminded of force policy on talking to the media that encourages officers at all levels to comment or advise on matters on which they are competent.

"In this case, DC Hills, as a detective in training, was not in a position to comment on matters that relate to national policy.

"Furthermore, police regulations state that officers must maintain political neutrality. "Sussex Police had made it clear that it wasn't necessary for Trainee DC Hills to resign, but his determination to pursue these issues as a matter of principle in the way that he did compromised his role as a police officer."

Wasting police time
16 Sep 07 |  Panorama
Writing the Policeman's Blog
17 Sep 07 |  Panorama
Police 'bogged down by red tape'
14 Sep 07 |  Panorama
Profile: Sir Ronnie Flanagan
14 Sep 07 |  Panorama

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