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Shropshire Star comment: Don't accept rises in crime as inevitable

By Shropshire Star | Opinions | Published:

Over recent years we have become accustomed to seeing sets of statistics showing that crime across our region is on the increase.

The latest official data shows knife crime has risen sharply in the West Mercia region, while in the year to September 2019 violent crime and robbery also increased at worrying levels.

On a more positive note, reports of burglary, criminal damage and arson fell.

Of course, it is only right to point out that we live in one of the safest parts of the country.

The figures for Shropshire and neighbouring Mid Wales remain low when compared to many other parts of Britain.

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But the upward trajectory of the statistics for the likes of violent crime and robbery will understandably cause concern.

The national picture is bleak too, and forms part of a deeply concerning trend that shows no sign of reversing any time soon.

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But that does not mean that the public should accept rising crime as if it was somehow inevitable.

Boris Johnson’s Government appears to have bitten the bullet as far as police funding is concerned, and has pledged to plough millions of pounds into extra officers.

In West Mercia, Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion has already recruited extra officers in an effort to reverse the trend and increase public confidence.

All of these initiatives are welcome – and demonstrate that the message is getting through to the upper echelons of government.

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The public has grown tired of hearing hollow promises from our politicians that things will get better. And there remains a suspicion that the extra funding pledged by the Prime Minister is simply restoring officer numbers to the levels they were before austerity kicked in.

Be that as it may, it is at least a step in the right direction.

The bottom line is that our police forces must be given the resources they need to fight crime.

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Readers of this newspaper could be forgiven for looking ahead to this year’s US Presidential election and asking the question: “What on Earth does it have to do with me?”

In America, the November 3 poll will give a final judgment on Donald Trump’s first four years of office.

But the election is also extremely significant on this side of the pond, with Britain’s dealings with the US likely to be crucial after we depart the EU.

Since he was elected in 2016, President Trump has made positive advances towards the UK, promising a “massive” new trade deal, although that was before a rift opened this week over a planned digital tax.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party is yet to select its candidate, so we have no idea what the impact on the ‘special relationship’ between the two nations will be should Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders end up in the White House.

Britain is currently the US’s seventh biggest trading partner. When Americans head to the polls, we will find out whether that relationship is likely to change – for better or for worse.

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