COMMENT: Fewer police, but there is still a duty to reassure

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Anybody who has been in a road accident, even a minor one, knows what a traumatic experience it can be.

The shock can last for days, weeks or even months, and it can shake your confidence either as a driver or a pedestrian.

Imagine, then, how great that shock would be if you were a four-year-old child, hit by a car which mounted the pavement as you innocently walked along a street with your mother.

That is exactly what happened to Eliza-Lillie Read and her mother Tiffany Elmore, as we report today.

Tiffany said the driver of the car, a black Audi, got out, saw what had happened, and sped off, leaving Tiffany to deal with a traumatised and injured child, and to summon the emergency services.

Eliza-Lillie was so upset that she cries in her sleep, and fears another car might hit her.

Aside from disbelief at how any driver could be so callous, it is worrying that Tiffany says she feels let down by the police, who did not attend the scene.

Instead Tiffany was asked to fill in a form and send it back to Hampshire Constabulary.

Police have confirmed that they are investigating the case, but Tiffany said: ‘I feel like they aren’t taking what happened seriously.’

We all know there are fewer police officers to go round these days, and we know that they might not even attend if our home has been burgled - but surely if a child has been knocked down and injured by a driver who then fled the scene, that is a slightly different matter?

As well as investigating crimes, the police have a duty to protect and reassure the public, and it seems that in this case they fell short of their obligations.