I HAVE a lot of sympathy for the police.
In the face of savage cuts to their numbers, and the struggle to maintain budgets, it is not surprising that morale and operational effectiveness have been affected.
Every Force is different, however, and my observations below are general ones and not aimed specifically at Dorset, for whom I have a lot of respect.
But, in the face of much criticism of the police, mainly in our large towns and cities, a timely new report calls for them to “get back to basics” and “focus on fighting crime”.
A respected think-tank suggests a number of reforms, including replacing the College of Policing with a national Police Leadership Academy, setting up a local residents ‘real time’ reporting app, and ending ‘wokery’, like dancing and kneeling in the street.
The recommendations come at a time you rarely see officers patrolling on foot, rather in cars where communication with residents is impossible.
This is certainly my experience in London.
A recent YouGov poll showed barely half of respondents think the police are doing a good job and only 43 per cent have confidence in them.
Official data records 6.3 million crimes in the year to March 2022, with just 5.6 per cent of offences leading to charges or summons.
And while soaring knife and other violent crimes hit the headlines, crimes against property are virtually ignored.
Worryingly, one in seven police forces are now under special measures, with the Met, Greater Manchester, Cleveland, Gloucestershire, Staffordshire and Wiltshire forces all deemed inadequate by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary since July.
Trust is a two-way street and the police must work hard to restore it.