Centralisation to blame for crime news being thin on the ground

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FURTHER to last week’s Editor’s Chair article, in which Gavin Gibbon does a fine job in giving your readers a revealing insight into the difficulties your newspaper, and no doubt many others, face when seeking to publish regular information on crime in the town – this situation, along with the closure of many police station front counters and the axing of the traffic wardens, is yet another result of the fallout from police centralisation.

I’ve long since given up hope of actually seeing any police officers pounding the Hawick beat, but why is it they always seem to have the necessary manpower to carry out the various motoring checks (seatbelts, mobile phones etc)? Now I’m not for a minute suggesting these offences aren’t important, but wouldn’t it also be beneficial for local officers to be seen to be integrating far more with local people?

I can still remember the days when townsfolk knew the names of their local bobbies, and wouldn’t think twice of approaching them, even just for a bit of advice or help. That relationship has been irrevocably lost, and I doubt whether many local folk even know who any of their policemen or women are. It may seem like an unimportant point, but I bet it’s one that has not been lost on many of the older generation, many of whom will have fond memories of passing the time of day with their local bobby.

Coming back to the problem your newspaper has in its attempts to print articles on local crime, I always found that there was something reassuring about the publication of such items. To me, the very fact that these stories were in the paper meant that our boys in blue were doing their damndest to catch those intent on breaking the law. I’m sure the police are still fighting crime as robustly as ever, but the Hawick public needs to know this. And trotting out solvency figures simply won’t do.