EDITOR’S COMMENT: It’s never been tougher on the thin blue line

FIGURES out this week from the Independent Police Complaints Commission reveal that dissatisfaction with the service YOU get from Derbyshire’s law enforcers is on the rise.

Of course, the spin doctors the police now employ to ‘communicate’ and ‘engage’ with members of the public are saying it’s a good thing that complaints are on the up: what it means, they say, is that Derbyshire people are far more confident when it comes to approaching the police with their problems.

It also means, they’d have you believe, that they are much better at recording such complaints, and are far more transparent about revealing the statistics.

But a snap poll on the Derbyshire Times website painted a damning picture. OK, the numbers (around 50 people) are small as it stands, but over 90 per cent of the people who took the time to vote said they were not happy with the service they get from Derbyshire Police. I would ask you, if you are reading this, to take time out to vote in the poll. Here’s the link: http://tinyurl.com/9hsucrz

Only a couple of weeks ago the police’s appeal for volunteers to carry our menial tasks, which might previously have been paid, caused huge disbelief in the community. It is felt that the ‘thin blue line’ is getting increasingly thinner, and yet we are meant to believe things are on the up.

This contrast in message, lurking in the shadow of the scandalous police cover up of the Hillsborough disaster, is one of the key reasons why people are not happy. Something is fundamentally wrong.

Add to that the impending Police and Crime Commissioner elections, which some would have you believe nobody knows about - and fewer people care about - and it seems the police have an image problem and a relationship breakdown with members of the public.

I want to stress that the officers on the front line do the best they can with what they’re given. And there are plenty of satisfied customers out there, I’m sure. But it feels very much like a policeman’s lot is tougher today than it has ever been. What do you think?

By James Mitchinson, Editor