WHAT a coincidence of timing.

Pretty much at the very moment police commissioner Martyn Underhill was delivering a warning that the Dorset force was reaching crunch point in its finances, a man armed with a handgun robs the post office in Highcliffe.

Worryingly, Mr Underhill said Dorset police may become “critically unstable” if the current recruitment freeze lasts until 2018.

The government has already warned that austerity will carry on for longer than anticipated after the failure to cut the budget deficit anywhere as quickly as planned.

The police are not alone in their predicament. The local councils that deliver services like schools, adult social care, highways and street cleaning also face a dire situation.

More cuts are inevitable across the board. Dorset has the added challenge of an significant elderly population.

As far as public services are concerned, the worst is yet to come.