The extent of police cutbacks has been laid rather bare following a candid tweet from Fareham police.
The whole of Fareham borough’s western wards – which covers areas such as Stubbington, Park Gate, Warsash and Whiteley – only has a single police vehicle assigned to its neighbourhood team.
Given the extent of police cutbacks in recent years, it should hardly come as a surprise. But that doesn’t make it any less shocking to see it spelled out so bluntly.
The revelation came on the social media site in response to a user saying that one of their community officers could cover more ground with a car.
That one vehicle is for use by 11 officers over what is a wide and varied geographical area.
We know that the officers on the ground are dedicated to their jobs and do the best they can with the resources at their disposal.
But one can’t help feeling that a single car (and six bicycles) leaves them without too many options in the event of a busy period.
The days of the ‘bobby on the beat’ have become something almost mythical, and that is a sad sign of the times.
Of course, if there’s serious crime, then yes, we understand that other response and patrol teams will become involved.
However, the community teams, those who know the people and the area best and who should be the first on the scene, could be hampered simply by their lack of ability to get there quickly.
In a statement, Hampshire Constabulary says: ‘We are confident that we have the right resources in the right places across the whole of Hampshire in order to offer the best possible policing to everyone who might need us.’
We only hope they are correct in their assessment.