Changing face of law and order

Date: Monday 1st April 2019

THE changing face of law and order is very much in evidence in the pages of this week’s Herald.

A former Shap policeman, who walked the beat in the 1960s and 70s, was the guest of honour at an open afternoon in the village’s Old Courthouse.

He painted a picture of policing in times past — with Shap allocated a team of one sergeant and four constables to hold the thin blue line in the village and surrounding areas.

While villages of Shap’s size could not dream of commanding such manpower these days, he did point out that the five personnel had just one vehicle between them, and described officers being forced to cadge lifts with passing motorists in order to attend incidents.

In the present day, priorities seem to have almost completely reversed.

Cumbria’s police and crime commissioner Peter McCall spoke this week about his plans to install CCTV cameras in “out-of-the-way” towns across the county, potentially including Kirkby Stephen and Alston.

He frankly admits that, with budgets already strained, he cannot “put a copper back in your village or town”. However, where operational need is shown, he sees CCTV as a hi-tech alternative to bobbies on the beat.

The days of the village bobby may be over, but Mr McCall is right to say that people who are asked to pay through their taxes for policing want to see something concrete for their money.