Shropshire Star comment: Police still have much work to do
More bobbies will soon be on the beat in Shropshire.
They will tackle crime, gather intelligence and provide reassurance to members of the public who wish to go about their business without being in fear.
It is not before time. If members of the public were to be asked to name the single thing that they would most like from police, the answer would be simple: more of them on our streets.
Austerity has led to huge cuts in our police force. And even though the Government gradually appears to be loosening its grip on the public purse strings, too many communities are inadequately served by officers.
Too often, crimes considered low level are simply not investigated. Car crimes, burglaries and shop thefts have dreadfully low detection rates because police have insufficient resources to tackle them.
And yet the cost of such crimes can be profound. The elderly couple whose equilibrium and mental health is demolished by a burglary, the shop-keeper whose business is ruined by theft – these are the people our police should be trying to protect more adequately.
One hopes that the appointment of new staff will give police the resources they need to both deter and detect crime with greater efficacy.
And while we recognise that such outcomes are challenging in a rural area such as Shropshire, where there are considerable distances between towns, villages and police stations, such geography must not be used as an excuse. Police have a duty to provide a level of service that the public demands.
Officers have work to do when it comes to crimes that are profoundly serious, too. And so an amnesty on firearms is welcome. While our region does not suffer from the high levels of gun crime that are more prevalent in larger cities and suburban areas, there are a number of nefarious individuals who harbour arms with ill intent.
More must be done to root out society’s most dangerous individuals and the amnesty should be viewed as an opportunity to make our communities safer. The appeal should be heard by those associated with society’s most unruly individuals and they must bring pressure to bear on those who live on the wrong side of the tracks.