YOUR VIEW: policing — is there the money to keep us safe?

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I see Paddy Tipping, Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner, is to improve policing in the county with a rise in council tax and pegged funding from the Home Office. Good. That’s his job.

A £2.8 million increase this year and £4m next year, if I read it correctly. Not a lot when made to shave £54m off the budget since 2010.

Complex investigations, protecting Nottinghamshire from terrorist attack, cyber-crime and whatever else the future holds is going to take up most of this.

Then there’s the new custody facility in Nottingham costing goodness knows what, and not forgetting his salary of course.

Personally I fear there will be little left in the pot for his laudable ambition to put officers back into the community. 
Shuffling staff around won’t guarantee 80 officers for front-line duty. Cuts are made at the bottom and that’s uniform policing. Always an easy cull nobody argues against, except for the public.

Whoever believed denuding the streets of uniformed officers was a money saver naively hoped people would police themselves. It never works.

Laws are only followed by law-abiding people. 
This is what the powers that be rely on.

Well, a promise is a promise and it’s one he should be made to keep this time.

Despite all this sophisticated crime, it may surprise him to know that feral behaviour and violence on the streets is a greater concern to the public. 
It’s all too familiar and the poor girl chased down in Nottingham, a victim of both and now dead, resonates far more than some internet scam.

We could all bend Mr Tipping’s ear with a tale of appalling anti-social behaviour.

If he’s sincere, Mr Tipping’s budget will just have to find the money for the robust and efficient uniformed policing the public deserve. They’ll be paying for it after all.

No more spurious arguments of being less than value for money, no more suggestions they were previously ineffectual, and certainly no more sophistry please to the effect the man in the street is under the constant gaze of CCTV and can take comfort in being only a phone call away from rescue.

Constables and police community support officers don’t chase Islamic State in Iraq and Syria or Russian spies. They are in uniform in public to be a visible symbol of law and order, a deterrent against wrongdoing, a comfort to the law abiding and keepers of the Queen’s peace.

By definition, the role of the police on the street is the prevention of any illegal activity, but they have to be there.

Priority policing in the opinion of the public. There is no substitute for that.

So we must hold Mr Tipping and his police and crime panel friends to his commitment or to tell us honestly that Nottinghamshire Police can’t meet its obligation to safeguard the streets of the county to the satisfaction of the public. We’ll see.

Steve Caulton

By email

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