THE recent terrifying armed robberies in our quiet village do much to focus attention on the lamentable degree of protection that ordinary people can now expect from our police.

Cutback after cutback have resulted in ever-lengthened response times as teams have to travel further and further, a fact that has obviously not gone unnoticed by the criminal fraternity.

Allied to the much-publicised increase in knife crime and the withdrawal of interest of any kind shown by the police to shop thefts of less than £200 value, this places our shop staff in particular directly in the front line.

One cannot imagine the lasting effects of suffering such a terrifying experience as being threatened with a knife at close quarters; PTSD is hard enough to deal with by our armed forces and police and confrontation is their business, but the ordinary shop worker should not have to experience it at all and certainly not twice within a fortnight.

But the cutbacks are here and it is now, and we would delude ourselves if we think for one moment that the return of the solitary village bobby (yes, Bransgore did have one until relatively recently) is the answer to these changing times. But these changing times should not mean that ordinary people are made to feel less secure in our daily lives. The beat bobby gives the perception of security even if he or she's only there once or twice during the day. The camera is there all day and all night.

CCTV is now a well-established tool in the fight against crime and is a feature of most high streets. Bransgore does not have any and this is another fact that is not lost on the criminal fraternity. A reliable image of the number plate of the escape vehicle has to be a better lead than a fuzzy side profile of a hoodie taken by the shop camera. Live police monitoring of prominent sites and professional surveillance of our public spaces is little to ask for by way of payback for the cutbacks. It is cheap policing at twice the price and is a requirement for which an expanding and vibrant village such as Bransgore is entitled to ask in the light of the worrying, nay terrifying, increase in violence of recent weeks and months.


Chairman, Bransgore and District Residents Association