New survey reveals impact of paperwork burden in policing

The time to move towards more modern police reporting tools is running down fast, and police departments will do well to heed its call. Automated police reporting solutions are no longer a “nice-to-have,” but a “must-have,” as recent data from our 2019 Role of Technology in Law Enforcement Paperwork Survey suggests.

The law enforcement professionals who responded to our survey say they want more robust solutions to help with incident reporting. They also agree that manual and disconnected documentation processes impact their work, community service, and contribute to burnout and can affect their safety.

Paperwork’s impact on productivity, community visibility

Over 56% of respondents from our survey say they spend at least 3 hours or more on reporting and other paperwork. Of these, 71% indicate that 1 hour or more of this time is spent in the patrol vehicles completing incident reports. Over 86% of survey respondents are concerned about how in-car documentation can contribute to their safety, specifically when it comes to situational awareness.

Increased documentation demands also limit the time officers spend within the community, according to the survey results. Over 91% of respondents say reporting demands are causing them to spend too much time on administrative work and less time out in the field. Not surprisingly, a majority of respondents (81%) say they are very concerned that this impacts officer burnout.

While paperwork problems appear to be great, almost half of survey respondents say their departments have yet to take steps to help reduce the administrative burden on officers. And 70% say that their department does not focus enough resources or budget to help.

Police departments need to evolve to modern reporting tools      

Ninety-four percent of survey respondents indicate that inaccurate or inefficient reporting processes impact report quality, and the prospect that they will need to revisit an individual report within the chain of the judicial process is high.

The news is not all grim. Seventy percent of departments in our survey recognize that they need to adopt new, innovative technologies to help improve incident reporting, officer safety, and community visibility. Law enforcement professionals agree that new police reporting solutions can help with the quality and consistency of the reports they deliver to prosecutor and district attorneys’ offices. And a vast majority say that technology can also help improve officer morale and retention, according to 45% of survey respondents.

The 2019 Role of Technology in Law Enforcement Paperwork Survey was deployed to more than 11,000 Police Chiefs and their Command Staff, including Patrol Officers, Detectives, Sergeants, Lieutenants and those responsible for IT and Records Management Systems (RMS). You can read the full results here.

Police Paperwork Survey

Nuance Dragon survey finds paperwork burden in policing impacts core areas, including report quality, community service, and officer burnout. Explore results.

Learn more