Officers in one of the UK’s largest police forces are spending up to 80 minutes filling out a single holiday request form, it has emerged.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) admitted officers in certain divisions have been taking well over an hour just to request time off work.
The force blamed the lengthy process on the number of copies of each form that had to be printed, signed and filed away.
Chris Burrows, chairman of the Greater Manchester Police Federation, said officers spent far too long filling in forms and dealing with red tape regulations.
He said: ”Some divisions and departments seek to interpret force policy in their own way and add extra levels of bureaucracy that are unnecessary.
”We have been working with the force, which now recognises that and is actually working to streamline the processes.”
A GMP spokeswoman said the shocking figures had come to light during an investigation into the annual leave application process.
But she said the paper-heavy process has since been replaced with a system that takes 90 seconds to complete and is all done online.
Emails do not need to be printed or signed off by supervisors as the request can be checked against the force duty system.
She said: ”On some divisions, the whole procedure from start to finish was taking around 80 minutes as a number of copies of the leave form needed to be printed, signed and filed away.”
The Metropolitan Police also came under fire for bad management of staff processes that prevented bobbies from spending more time on the beat.
He said it could take up to 20 minutes to find a form on the force intranet and paperwork had to be signed off by senior management.
He said: ”The Met intranet is impossible to find anything on and searching does not usually give you the results you need.
”Forms are poorly named and more often than not do not reflect the form you are looking for – leaving sometimes 20 minutes of trying to find the right form.
”Once forms are completed you are chasing senior management around the borough to try and get a signature. Why is all this not done electronically?
”I love being on the street but my hands are tied by bureaucracy.”
The frustrated officer described both the performance development review process and the sergeants’ promotion process as ”very poor”.
But a Met spokeswoman defended the force’s ”significant strides” in reducing bureaucracy as they strived to create a paperless human resources service.
She said: ”We expect our staff and officers to receive proper appraisals and development plans. We make no apology for this.
”The intranet site receives around 300,000 visits every month and so far feedback is good.”
David Cameron, Conservative leader, announced this week that his party would cut back on form-filling in the police service if the party were to win next month’s general election.