POLICING: Is red tape keeping officers off the streets?

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Increasingly public opinion, regrettably, is that police officers are almost extinct, as far as ‘being on the street’ is concerned.

I have not seen a police officer on the streets of Bourne for years. However and, perhaps strangely, a road accident is invariably visited by at least four police cars.

At a point in time wqhen Bourne had six PCSOs, all very pleasant people, I asked, via the chief constable, the salaries of newly-appointed police officers and, similarly, PCSOs.

A secretary replied to say that they would have to check me out – was I a person entitled to have that information?

I posed the question: “What if I am an 18 to 20-year-old wishing to become a police officer, who would quitwe normally wish to know the salaries?”

Eventually and reluctantly I was advised that PCSOs receive approximately 90 per cent of a police salary.

I then asked why not have five police officers in lieu of six PCSOs – those who could apply the full spectrum of the law rather than a small part of it – my comments were ignored.

At Bourne police station one can only discuss matters with a clerk who, at best, completes a four-page A4 questionaire.

Apparently when it is completed it is put in a police officers’ tray and the first available officer will review it!

Could democracy and red tape be the reasons why police officers are kept from the streets, or thinking of hare coursing, has our chief constable a poor sense of priorities and allocation of resources?

Brian Fines