We need to get more officers on the streets

COMMENT: Our public services can only take so much

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Today’s launch of Operation Nemesis by Hampshire Constabulary is a welcome sign of the force’s determination to crack down on burglaries, robbery and theft from vehicles.

It’s two years since a similar operation was carried out and now it will be repeated for three months, with the aim of cracking 15 per cent of all serious acquisitive crime in the area.

Various methods will be used as part of Nemesis. For instance officers are to publish ‘wanted’ pictures of people previously convicted of crimes in a bid bring more suspects to justice, as well as using CCTV and regular public appeals for information.

But one of the aspects of the operation that we believe people will welcome the most is the use of overt as well as undercover operations.

That means a visible police presence on our streets that will make criminals think twice about breaking into cars or houses. And for those who still try, the chances of them being caught and brought to justice must be higher.

People want to see police officers out and about, not stuck behind desks back at the station doing endless paperwork.

We understand that budgets are tight and that Chief Constable Alex Marshall needs to save £20m this year alone. The county has already got rid of 170 police officers. But we hope that back office efficiencies can still be found to free up officers to be seen by the communities they serve.

Today visitors to Gunwharf Quays will get to take a nostalgic look back at the police force of the past in a special Policing Through The Ages event.

PC Mark Walsh, part of the organising team, says it’s a chance for people to take a look at how policing has changed.

That is undoubtedly true. Police officers in Dixon of Dock Green’s day didn’t have a whole host of technology at their disposal.

But we must never forget that the core role of the police has not changed one bit.

They are still tasked with catching criminals - and patrolling our towns and cities as part of Operation Nemesis will help them do that.

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