Policing Matters

Whether you be a Politician, a Policeman, or a Journalist is seems you can never get it right.

The first is supposed to make the law, the second enforce it and the third report it. The lines recently have become even more blurred.

Did this start with the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, mistaken for a potential suicide bomber? How much influence did Boris Johnson, the Conservative Mayor of London, who now chairs the Met Police Authority, have in the resignation of Sir Ian Blair as Metropolitan Police Commissioner? Why and how did the Police arrest Damian Green MP in his office in the House of Commons without a warrant to do so? Will all of this be left to investigative journalism and will we ever know the truth about any of it?

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Certainly not following the debate in the Commons yesterday, which ended with Liberal Democrat and Conservative MPs resolving not to sit on a committee to investigate the matter. They all held the view that the exercise would be pointless if they had to wait until a police investigation had been completed first. Does this show distrust arising on all sides? The situation in Greece is not strictly comparable but there the police shooting of a teenage boy resulted in riots.

As the Queens Speech and legislative proposals are debated we hear there is to be a Policing and Crime Bill. This is the 26th criminal justice bill since 1997. So I ask yet another question - Do we need more legislation? What is certain is that we need better delivery of what we already have. The devil is in the detail of course and all will be revealed in due course but what people want at a local level are enough police officers to ensure that crime and disorder on our streets is kept to an absolute minimum.

Generally, here in both Bexhill and the rural areas we benefit from low crime figures. There is good partnership between both local politicians of all parties and local police throughout East Sussex. It is not difficult however, for mere mortals, when reading of bombings, world unrest and global economic melt down which now begins to affect daily lives, to feel some disquiet. Perhaps I should stop reading the national newspapers and listening to Radio 4 and concentrate simply on local matters.