Why Police Deserve Public Support
I’ll start by admitting that I was one of those who thought that the move from to a weekly Chronicle and Echo would result in a poorer quality newspaper.
What of course has transpired is a really good newspaper, full of excellent content which has because of the quantity of news being compressed into a single paper and not spread out over six days really demonstrates what is happening in Northampton.
No more so than in the area of crime and all credit to the crime reporters and editorial staff, even if sadly there seems to be plenty to report as we see in this week’s edition where victims recovering from very serious assaults, to smash and grab burglaries and police appeals for witnesses to an incident that took place at Mereway involving a young teenage girl, (every parents fear) have been reported and which again demonstrates the need for the public to support the police.
What is concerning, and it is a subject I have raised on many occasions in the past, is the real difficulty that the Northamptonshire Police find themselves in because of cuts in funding from central Government and the County and Borough Council amounting to over 20%.
Why anyone on earth believes that cutting over £1 in every £5 for policing at a time of economic austerity and recession is sound economic or social policy is beyond me.
That said you really do have to admire the positive approach and way that Assistant Chief Constable Andy Frost (Chronicle and Echo 7th June 2012) still maintains his professional commitment to protecting the public whilst being honest in admitting that Northamptonshire police will remain under strength for what appears to be the foreseeable future.
It is good and welcome news that the ‘freeze’ on recruitment has now been lifted and that 20 PCSO’s have been approved to go to the national assessment centre but if there is one question that I’m sure Northampton people in the Eastern District where I’m a Borough Councillor will be asking is
“why are current PCSO’s losing their jobs if they are recruiting twenty new ones between October this year and February next”.
The other question that no-one, including the media appear to be asking is what happens when the ‘200 officers’ return from duty at the Olympics and who presumably having had their leave and rest days cancelled to cover the games, Jubilee celebrations, British Grand Prix etc. will then not only want to take their leave but will unquestionably deserve and be ready for a break.
It will obviously impose a strain on what because of the cuts in funding is an already stretched and underfunded police service, a strain that will be exacerbated during the remainder of this year and a pressure that will if history is anything to go by be well-managed by the police management at all levels and will once again rely on the unsung professional commitment of police officers and PCSO’s on the ground.
It is a commitment the majority of the people in Northampton are rightly grateful for and will be of increasing importance as the cuts to police funding really starts to bite in the coming months and years.
It will be interesting in future editions of the Chronicle and Echo to watch the trends and reporting of crime in Northampton and importantly that the newspaper in covering the issue also continue, as I’m sure they will, their continuing support for the police.
It is a difficult period for the police which mean now more than ever before the public need to get behind them and show their full support.