Getting to know local bobbies is so important

CONTINUING from my column last week about the ongoing situation in Worthing, a sub topic to this is the standing of the local police in the community.

In my opinion and through no fault of their own, in some ways the police, weighed down by increasing paperwork and political correctness, have almost lost their way locally.

I'll give you an example.

Go back 30 years or so, to my teenage years, although like most kids I wasn't an "Angel Gabriel", I wasn't a bad lad, yet I could name at least half a dozen local coppers '“ Sgt Terry, PC Jenner, PC Trustler, PC Marten, PC Budd and PC Curry.

Why? Because they had a local police presence.

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Almost every kid knew them because of their attendance at school or on the local beat.

Go to any school now and pick a random 13-year-old youngster and ask them to name any of the local police.

And there lies the problem, going back to my youth, whether you liked the policeman or not was immaterial, the over-riding factor was that you respected them.

How can our youngsters truly respect and trust the local police if they don't know them other than just a man in a uniform?

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Like I said, I don't blame the police for this problem, their hands have been tied by red tape (or should that be handcuffs?) for many years.

Then, hopefully things might turn round again for the better.

I doubt we will ever return to the days I've recalled, but we do now seem to have a local police force who have identified the importance of community relations.

Whilst I don't wish to single individuals out, with the likes of Inspector Chris Smith, a local boy born and bred, working in the town, I think things will improve and that can only make Worthing a better place to live, which goes without saying is what we all want.

They say the UK is 15 years behind America.

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Well, having visited the Big Apple last week as part of the commander-in-chief's landmark birthday, I wonder if we'll ever go down the tipping route they do across the Atlantic?

I understand that "tips" make up a big part of the wages in America, but whilst you know as soon as you arrive in the country that is what is expected, I was a little taken aback to discover that at least two hotel bars I went in actually took it without asking.

But it also begs the question, are we selling our bar staff short in this country?

Most people will tip in restaurants, and with Miss Hart now working part time at Pizza Hut, I know people locally can be very generous, but should we also be thinking of the staff in the pubs and clubs when we buy drinks?

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Or would that be one transatlantic fad, unlike the school prom and "party bags", that wouldn't catch on?

Ian Hart's comment is published in the Herald series every Thursday


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