Head­lines Look­ing for some sub­stance be­hind prom­ises

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS - Po­lice and Crime Com­mis­sioner Martin SURL

THE me­dia first coined the phrase the silly sea­son be­cause in news terms, it was the time of the year when lit­tle of note hap­pened.

With Par­lia­ment in re­cess there would be no big an­nounce­ments and with schools out and fam­ily hol­i­days in, the feeling was that most peo­ple weren’t in­ter­ested any­way.

It meant that skate­board­ing ducks and sight­ings of big cats in the wild achieved greater promi­nence than they might have done at other times in the cal­en­dar.

The ques­tion is, are we ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the sil­li­est sea­son ever?

Or is the plethora of re­cently an­nounced ini­tia­tives an in­di­ca­tion of a new ap­proach to polic­ing and jus­tice?

Is it silly sea­son hype or the ex­cep­tion that proves the rule be­cause from my stand­point the last few weeks have been any­thing but run of the mill? As I have said be­fore, 20,000 new po­lice of­fi­cers af­ter a decade of cutbacks is wel­come.

But there’s still been no word from the Gov­ern­ment on the sup­port­ing struc­tures needed to get them onto the front line where they are des­per­ately needed. Fur­ther­more, an­other £85mil­lion is pledged for Crown Pros­e­cu­tors but no men­tion of Glouces­ter­shire’s crum­bling courts. Then there’s the plan for 10,000 more prison places when fix­ing the 80,000 cells al­ready in ex­is­tence be­fore so many be­came un­fit for pur­pose might have been money bet­ter spent. Don’t get me wrong, the ex­tra in­vest­ment is wel­come as fur­ther cuts that were def­i­nitely in the pipe­line less than two years ago would have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

So while it is my job and that of the Chief Con­sta­ble to make sure Glouces­ter­shire re­mains safe, I hope there is real sub­stance to these sto­ries and not just eye-catch­ing head­lines.

Fi­nally, I can­not fin­ish with­out pay­ing my own trib­ute to the brave young of­fi­cer who lost his life last week in the line of duty.

I never met PC An­drew Harper but he was the em­bod­i­ment of the thou­sands of of­fi­cers, many of them work­ing in our county, who face dan­ger ev­ery day to pro­tect us.

It is a warped logic that blames the po­lice for crimes com­mit­ted by others.

And with the po­lice ex­pected more and more to fill gaps in so­ci­ety they were not in­tended for, PC Harper’s sac­ri­fice re­minds us we should never take them for granted.

Pic­ture: PA

Mem­bers of the Thames Val­ley and Hamp­shire Roads Polic­ing Team pay their re­spects at trib­utes to PC An­drew Harper

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