According to The Guardian's report today, Sir Ronnie Flanagan's report into the future of policing in Britain will include proposals to cut back bureaucracy - notably the piles of paperwork that have to be completed by the police.
Reading the news stories, I remembered an odd experience in Cardiff in 1999. I had cycled to The Hayes from my home in Llandaff, and enjoyed a leisurely Sunday morning browse in Waterstone's. I was cycling past Cardiff Castle on the way home when a police car approached. To my surprise, the PC asked me to stop. What could I have done? "Have you lost your cycle pump, Sir?" enquired the policeman. I was about to say no when I noticed the pump was missing. It emerged that the police had spotted on CCTV some youths grabbing my pump. What a triumph for the police, I thought.
But before I could make my way home with my pump, I had to spend half an hour answering questions about the incident. I couldn't help thinking that it was no wonder the police struggle to keep our streets safe when recording such a trivial (but heart-warming) incident kept a police officer busy for half an hour.