A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Bobby on the Beat?

New Labour is keen to reduce the number of county police forces in England on the basis that this will assist efficiency. It will help fight crime and bring justice to our land more quickly! Another fantasy, I fear, and one that most people don't want.

Devon & Cornwall Police are having to consider merging with other forces after being given Home Office "options". Home Secretary Charles Clarke has announced two options for the police forces of the South West. In both of them, Avon & Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire constabularies will disappear into a bigger "regional" force. The same options are being touted for the West Midlands, with Warwickshire, West Mercia & West Midlands (the smaller "county" not the "region") being put together in a marriage of inconvenience!

All this is in the name of efficiency. However, even now my local police station is closed for daily business, I have to phone a call centre (thankfully not in India!) and eventually speak to a disinterested civilian who says "my problem" will be looked into. The only way to get any real action in the West Midlands is to call 999. Now that really shakes the leaves off the trees! But it is not a responsible action in most cases, is it?

These apparatchiks of New Labour have lost the plot! What we need is a national crime prevention unit dealing with organised crime, drug dealing, corporate fraud, smuggling and immigration rackets. We need local police forces, based on counties that people recognise, to handle house burglaries, street crime, traffic offences and all other "local" offending.

How on earth is it going to help efficiency if police come into a town from the other side of the "region" and know precious little about the place? Large "regional" forces are doomed to failure and we should stand up now to say so -


Arden, yours might get beter by merging with West Mercia because it's the best in England apparently. Feel sorry for us up in Shropshire whose police force is being merged with one of the badly performing forces and relocating to Birmingham where half of them don't even know which country Shropshrie is in!

Absolutely, Wonko, you may be in for some muddled policing! However, I don't think any amount of merging will reopen the local police station here!

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