New crime figures from police reveal an uncomplicated truth: police in West Mercia are doing a terrific job in tackling offenders.
There were 4,000 fewer reported crimes during the past 12 months; a quantum leap for rank and file officers and detectives.
Force managers deserve great credit. Their strategic decisions in the face of budgetary cuts have not only helped officers to tackle crime, they’ve also helped to prevent crimes.
Their work has dissuaded some criminals from stealing cars, committing burglaries and engaging in other illegal activity. A raft of crime prevention campaigns have been a success and it must be our hope that officers will commit themselves to similar works.
As a nation, we are quick to criticise when things go wrong and there have been numerous occasions when officers have been vilified for getting it wrong.
However, on this occasion, we can have nothing but praise for the work of our police. Those assigned to tackle crime – from community support officers to bobbies on the beat, from detectives to detective chief inspectors and from superintendents to chief constables – deserve congratulations.
Another factor to take into account is this: in this new era of honesty, we can believe that the figures are accurate. Unlike in Blairite times, when spin was the dominant factor, we can believe that there were, actually, 4,000 fewer crimes and not a massaging of the figures.
Without their unstinting efforts our society would be a less safe place. Four thousand people on our patch have not had to endure the trauma of being a victim of crime. We should all be grateful to the police for making that happen.
We are fortunate that in Shropshire we live in a relatively low crime area. Parts of the county, like south Shropshire, have some of the lowest crime rates in the country.
While police have made good on their promise to tackle crime, we must also hope that the courts play their part. Sentences must fit the crime and serve not only to punish those who are on the wrong side of the law; they must also deter others from following suit.
Slaps on the wrist are not enough in modern times, courts must not be afraid to punish offenders to make sure they do not stay again.
Police are doing a good job and they deserve the unqualified support of our judiciary system.