A Staffordshire police officer who risked his job to blow the whistle on red tape and political correctness holding the force back was unmasked on television last night.

Stuart Davidson, 36, worked at the Burton-on-Trent Police Station for four years until he left this June.

But for years he was better known as David Copperfield, the author of a book called Wasting Police Time, and a blog exposing how officers were all too often stuck in the station doing paperwork and chasing Government targets.

Pc Davidson said: "I thought nobody else can be doing things that are so insane.

"But it transpires that there are thousands and thousands of other police officers out there doing exactly the same kinds of things. In total, it's hard to say of course, but 80 per cent of what I did was a waste of time.

"You have to think hard before you arrest somebody, partly because, if you do arrest them, you are going to be off the streets dealing with them while they're in custody and preparing the file."

Even his colleagues were unaware that Pc Davidson was the author of the blog and book, which became a massive success and sold more than 50,000 copies.

He appeared on BBC programme Panorama last night, describing how the targets and rules imposed by the Government had hamstrung the police force.

In his blog and book he claimed targets for detection rates pushed police officers into concentrating on large numbers of easily solvable trivial offences.

"We get exactly the same points for cautioning a girl for pulling another girl's hair as we would for a domestic burglary," he said. "In terms of statistics they're exactly the same, which is why we deal with them.

"The public think that we solve burglaries, the public think that we're actually on patrol accosting thieves and people who are up to no good. But what we actually do is attempt to meet government statistics by solving trivial crime."

His blog caused such a stir that it even caught the ear of Policing Minister Tony McNulty, who described Copperfield's work as "more of a fiction than Dickens" last year.

But he has since changed his position, saying that things could be improved for police officers.

And he added that while targets are crucial for accountability, they should not get in the way of officers doing their job effectively.

Pc Davidson, who revealed he was David Copperfield at his leaving party in June, now plans to move to Canada to work as a police officer.

He said he had already travelled across the Atlantic to experience working with Canadian officers and was impressed that officers spend more time on the beat and do not have to return to the office to file paperwork on every incident.