TV show helps shine a light on dwindling police numbers

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One episode of the excellent Channel 4 show Coppers is all you need to understand why the thin blue line is getting thinner by the day.

The number of police officers in England and Wales has fallen to its lowest level in a decade – not that surprising really when you consider the budget cuts chief constables have to cope with.

Add in the frustration that officers must feel when they’re expected to be law enforcers, social workers, paramedics, addiction counsellors and petty neighbourhood dispute-fixers and the picture looks grim.

Who’d want to be a police officer when red tape, meaningless court sentences and a nation of people unable – but often just unwilling – to take care of themselves conspire to get in your way?