Reading an Adver story headlined ‘Police get hard on knife crime’ my reaction isn’t one of relief nor of wondering why it took so long. I’m more puzzled as to how it got to the point where they need to ‘get hard’ in the first place — though as all they are doing is applying the law it is more a case of getting normal.
The impression I get of the police in Swindon, and no doubt elsewhere, is that they are constantly shifting resources from one government so-called initiative — of which this is the latest — to another. So rather than a steady effort on a range of issues, keeping them all under reasonable control, there is a stop-start approach, with some types of criminality being almost ignored until they reach a point where the politicians pick them as their latest headline-grabbing crime-reduction priority. Concentrated police campaigns have their uses but not when, as often seems to happen, they divert a lot of resource away from what is essential everyday policing.