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Letter: ‘Criminals are effectively getting away with everything with very little fear of there being any possible consequences’

I read with interest the letter submitted by Nick Saunders (A&T 13th Oct) under the heading “Tough for police to be pro-active.”

Mr Saunders is an ex-colleague, and his assertion that we served together in New Milton is quite correct. Although in the majority of my time here in New Milton it was deemed to be a ‘sergeant’s station’, of which there were just two officers with that rank.

They worked 8am-4pm, and 4pm to midnight. Their full contingent consisted of some 24 uniformed constables, together with an additional two CID officers, who were also on call in the event of anything deemed to be serious enough for them to be dealing with.

Criminals are effectively “getting away with everything” (picture: stock image)
Criminals are effectively “getting away with everything” (picture: stock image)

The old police Station, in Old Milton Road, had two cells located at the rear of the premises, although these were rarely used for that purpose. More as kennels for stray dogs, truth be known.

Then the police station closed its doors to the public between the hours of 10pm and 6am. This meant that whichever of the senior officers that were on duty that particular night, although remaining on call, could be allowed to go off duty.

This effectively left the station unmanned, which in turn, usually allowed for two double crewed cars for night patrols in the outlying areas, and two foot patrols left to look after the higher risk areas around our town centre. We were all in constant radio contact with each other, and police headquarters.

So, apart from taking a mid-shift meal break, these properly trained officers did just that. They spent the rest of their shift out there patrolling what was deemed to be our designated area of responsibility, New Forest west.

We were expected to be able to deal in a competent manner, with everything and anything, that was required of us. There were rarely any nights when there was nothing that needed a police presence. Incidents such as minor road traffic accidents were quite common-place, as were public order offences, such as domestic disputes, common assaults, rowdy ASB, etc.

Resident blasts lack of effective policing (picture: stock image)
Resident blasts lack of effective policing (picture: stock image)

Here, Mr Saunders is quite right in pointing out that if these incidents then developed into something more protracted, such as the officer concerned having to make an arrest, perhaps for drink-driving, then that meant the available manpower on that particular night instantly became somewhat depleted.

So we all preferred not to get ourselves into that situation, if it was at all possible. The system worked admirably well for years and years. So why change it? Mr Saunders was again quite correct – money. Or rather the apparent lack of it, it seems.

That being said, the fact still remains that we now have no real effective policing of our area. As such, criminals are effectively getting away with everything with very little fear of there being any possible consequences. The drug dealer here, being a typical example.

We are all expected to contribute toward the police via our rates. So why are we not getting any effective policing? Does it come down to just a lack of money, or is the problem down to very poor government?

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