COMMENT: Might the bobby return at last to his old beat?
The words of Olivia Pinkney, chief constable of Hampshire Constabulary, will be music to the ears of the majority of taxpayers.
She says that an increase in manpower will finally enable her force to properly do the job we pay them for: To fight crime.
To the force’s credit, overall crime in the county has been falling.
Offences, excluding fraud, reduced to 158,924 according to records in the year to March 2019, down from 159,541 in the previous 12 months. Portsmouth saw an eight per cent drop in overall crime.But more detailed Office for National Statistics figures show that in Portsmouth the types of offending that increased were violent crimes, drug offences, weapon possession, robbery, theft from the person offences, and stalking or harassment crimes.Havant saw a two per cent increase overall. East Hampshire saw a seven per cent increase.There was no change to overall crime in Fareham, while Gosport saw a drop of three per cent.
Throughout that period we have been hearing from the police that resources are stretched, that the thin blue line is wearing too thin, and the constant cry from a weary public has been ‘why can’t we have more bobbies on the beat?’
The fear of crime is ever-present in today’s society as news bulletins besiege us with reports of knife crime, county lines drugs gangs, and threats of terrorist activity.
Hampshire’s recruitment drive is part of prime minister Boris Johnson’s pledge to give Britain 20,000 new police officers within three years.
How many officers Ms Pinkney will be able to recruit remains to be seen, but her hopes are high and so will be the public’s.
The return of bobbies on the beat will be a welcome sight.