Forces must be given the tools to get the job done

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The latest crime statistics released by Hampshire Constabulary show some encouraging signs for the future.

It is good to know that between April and October there was a drop in house burglaries, vehicle crime, criminal damage and those that involve violence against another.

Anyone who has found themselves a victim of one of these distressing crimes will undoubtedly feel reassured by that.

Having your home or property violated is a deeply unpleasant experience for anyone to have to go through. It’s no surprise that people are upset when they have to call the police because someone has broken into their house or stolen their car.

We are also pleased to see that in Portsmouth, the number of serious violent crimes has decreased. Although the six per cent rise reported in the central area, which covers Fareham, Gosport and Havant, is not such good news. And neither is the increase in robberies.

The News has reported on a number of incidents whereby a person has been walking along the street or in their business premises and found themselves suddenly faced with a violent criminal. The trauma is hard to imagine.

We take Chief Superintendent Nigel Hindle’s point when he says that the number of reported robberies in Portsmouth is still low compared to other cities its size. But we want to see firm plans put in place to improve this situation further.

Of course Hampshire Constabulary will have to make some tough decisions over the coming months. The budget cuts will make everything harder and we are sympathetic to the situation our police forces are in.

But we maintain that it’s vital that the police release statistics such as these. They help the public understand what the issues are, alert them to the risks and help them do what they can to stay safe.

At a time when force budgets are being cut, the government must consider carefully how they are funded and whether they are being given sufficient resources to do the job.

The answer cannot be no.