Those who do not take pride should be punished

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There surely can’t be many people who will find themselves disagreeing with what Chief Constable Alex Marshall hopes the new year will bring.

Hampshire’s top police officer talks a lot of sense when he looks ahead to what 2012 will have in store for us.

Of course, you can’t move forward without taking a good look at where you’ve come from, and the last 12 months have certainly thrown up much for reflection – both at a national and a local level.

This summer’s riots sent shock waves through the country.

Thankfully, Hampshire was spared from the worst but many of our police officers were drafted in to help out in other areas.

Many have asked whether a lack of community spirit was a driving factor behind the appalling level of violence and disorder we saw on our streets.

And Mr Marshall hopes that 2012 will see us regain our interest in our community spaces and take pride in where we live.

But it’s definitely worth noting that there is already a thriving sense of community here and many good things going on.

If a few individuals have chosen to opt out, that doesn’t mean the rest of us should think that our communities as a whole are under threat.

It’s right that we should all take pride in our communities.

But it’s equally important that those who don’t are punished properly for their selfish acts and reckless behaviour.

Those responsible for the increase in the number of people caught drinking and driving this month must also be brought to justice.

As must those who continue to engage in alcohol-fuelled crime and disorder.

Our police forces have had to find new ways to deal with that particular problem and must build on that in the new year.

We hope that Mr Marshall’s words are heeded by all those who value the communities we live in.

And we sincerely hope that all those who display a blatant disregard for what the rest of us hold dear, feel the full weight of the police come down hard on them.

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