A TOP police chief has admitted that the bureaucracy facing officers on the beat is "bonkers" and needs changing.

Paul Kennedy, North Yorkshire's assistant chief constable, told councillors the necessity to fill in a 19-page booklet upon making an arrest, and to carry around hand-held luggage for the paperwork, was outdated and needed changing.

Getting rid of that level of bureaucracy and turning to new ways of recording arrests by using more technology would lead to the public seeing more police officers on the beat rather than having to return to the station,

Mr Kennedy, who was accompanied by Superintendent Amanda Oliver, was speaking to Craven District Council's crime and disorder committee, giving details of the new North Yorkshire Police Operational Police Modelling.

Consultation on the plans has already sparked disquiet among Craven people, who fear it could lead to the closure of Skipton police station and the magistrates' court.

The proposal calls for the closure of Skipton custody suite, which police say is underused, and to move all custody operations to Harrogate.

It would save £72,203 a year and would enable more police officers to be used in front-line roles.

A new voluntary system, in which people would not be arrested in some circumstances and instead be invited to attend the police station for interview without the need to travel to Harrogate custody suite, would be introduced.

He stressed again that there was no threat to the police station or the magistrates' court.

The force was doing the review and proposing the changes to make over £14 million in savings between now and 2017.

But there would be new investment in technology so that police officers could remain on the beat longer and in more automatic number plate recognition systems.

It was planned to set up new investigation hubs based at custody suites at Northallerton, Harrogate, York and Scarborough.

"These are proposals and we and the police and crime commissioner are keen to hear residents' views on the recommendations," he added.

A number of councillors expressed their fears about the distance people would have to travel from North Craven to Harrogate. and the problems they would face in getting back home.

Councillor Simon Myers, a retired barrister, said he feared the loss of local justice.

"Justice must be seen to be done locally and reported locally. Please bear this in mind when you consider whether the closure of the custody suite in Skipton is necessary," he said.

People can have their say on the proposals by logging on to northyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk/police-crime-plan or for more information on the OPM northyorkshire.police/opm.