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Shropshire Star comment: Welcome backing from police chief

Opinions | Published:

It is heartening to hear senior police officers speak up in support of bobbies on the beat.

Most ordinary citizens would probably list bobbies on the beat as being at the top of their priorities list when it comes to policing in Shropshire and Mid Wales.

And so the noises off from Superintendent Tom Harding about providing more bobbies on the beat are welcome. In a technological age, there is an increased police reliance on technology and officers spend more time behind computers using advanced intelligence to snare criminals.

There are also different types of crime: hate crimes via social media and other areas of the internet are seldom out of the headlines.

And yet for many people there is something reassuring about seeing policemen and women patrolling their local areas.

At a time when there has been much talk about the divergence between West Mercia and Warwickshire forces – an issue that largely amounts to window dressing and that will be of little or no interest to most people – providing more officers is of greater interest.

While we know that we cannot return to an era of police on every corner, it is important that locals feel there are people in their corner if they become a victim of an assault, a burglar or something more serious.

For too long, the police have been accused of letting minor crimes go uninvestigated and undetected. And for the victim of a house break-in there is nothing ‘minor’ about their experience. Crime brings trauma, a feeling of helplessness and a sense of injustice. And too many people across Shropshire and Mid Wales have been without confidence in their police force for too long.

They want officers to get back to basics, to being accountable for crimes in their community, for helping to establish activities that deter criminals and for rooting out the bad apples in society.

Superintendent Harding’s words hint at precisely that approach and people will be pleased to know that they are being listened to.

Of course, it is one thing to make such promises: the police now have to deliver. People will expect to see a greater police presence in their communities and more officers on the beat soon.

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