Written evidence submitted by the Home Office (POP0097)


During the Home Affairs Committee’s oral evidence session on policing priorities on 25 April, you asked for more information about how much police time would be saved as result of the new Code of Practice on non-crime hate incidents (NCHIs).  


This Government is determined to ensure that the police are spending their time on the right things - that is, protecting the public, catching criminals and preventing crime. We recently announced changes to the Home Office Counting Rules that will save, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) estimates, 443,000 hours of police time each year. The hours saved are based on the following changes to the counting rules: amending the principal recording rule; only recording public order offences where a victim is identified; and making it easier to cancel a crime when it is clear that one hasn't taken place. 


This figure does not include any estimate for officer time saving as a result of the introduction of the NCHI Code of Practice and, indeed, there may be no such saving. I would like to be clear that the Government’s primary concern about the recording of NCHIs does not relate to police time spent on this recording; rather, our concern relates to reports of the police wrongly getting involved in lawful debate in this country. 


This concern has been echoed by Parliamentarians and the wider public and is why, as provided for in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022, the Home Secretary laid a draft code of practice before Parliament on 13 March that will ensure that the police only record NCHIs when it is absolutely necessary and proportionate to do so, and not simply because someone is offended.


The code also emphasises that the police should adopt a common-sense and proportionate approach. For example, the code specifies that police may choose not to undertake extensive investigations to identify the subject of an NCHI report if to do so would require a disproportionate amount of police time. This approach will ensure that the police are able to focus on the most serious incidents and crimes. 


This Government is confident that, once in effect, this code will ensure that personal data and the right to freedom of expression are better protected, whilst ensuring that vulnerable individuals and communities continue to be safeguarded by the police. This will address concerns raised by Parliamentarians and the wider public.


I also wanted to take this opportunity to clarify a couple of further points raised during the session. 


In reference to the work I highlighted ongoing with the Department for Health to develop a new National Partnership Agreement for responding to mental health incidents, I cited an estimate of up to 1 million hours of police time which could be freed by this agreement. I would like to clarify that this is a figure which has been drawn from an internal report as part of the NPCC’s Productivity Review, which stated that ‘Police officers are spending almost one million hours a year waiting with patients simply because they are awaiting an assessment by health professionals.’


I also gave the Committee an estimate of the amount of time being saved within Humberside, the Force which has developed this model, of 15,000 hours per year. I offered an approximate calculation of the annual savings, from memory, of a previous figure used in the Peel Inspection by HMICFRS. Humberside Police has since conducted a further evaluation of Right Care Right Person in their force and have updated with a new figure of 1,441 officer hours saved per month, 17,292 officer hours per year which exceeds the 15,000 per year that I stated. The period the evaluation covered is 32 months (from May 2020 to December 2022) therefore the total saving is 46,114 officer hours during that period.


Finally, I would like to confirm that the Independent Operational Productivity Review, for which we discussed the likely timelines of completion, is due to report back to the Home Secretary at its conclusion in September.


Yours sincerely,




Rt Hon Chris Philp MP

Minister of State for Crime, Policing and Fire


May 2023