The 12 per cent increase in the number of burglaries in Lancashire is just one of the statistics that the police federation are using in a video called Cuts have Consequences, to highlight concerns they have about the current and future capability of Lancashire police.
The three-minute video is worth watching and it can be viewed on the Lancashire Police Federation website.
Five years ago the release of such a video would have been national headline news, but these days it hardly raises a murmur and some still see it as scaremongering by a self-interested police service that can easily cope with further significant funding cuts.
The reality is that the Cuts have Consequences campaign is having no discernible impact on public or government opinion and, in the next few years, Lancashire will have a third less police officers than it did in 2009.
Unfortunately, the Fed, for once, are absolutely ‘on message’ and are quite rightly pointing out that the huge reduction in the number of police officers is making Lancashire and this country less safe.
I will readily admit to feeling less safe than I have previously, although some of that may be down to me being aware of just how few officers there are covering parts of Lancashire during certain times of the day. On my daily journey to and from Preston, I have seen an increase in the number of police cars using sirens and blue lights.
This is an indication to me that there are either more ‘grade one’ response jobs or officers are having to travel greater distances to provide urgent back up to one of their colleagues.
I see more beggars, drunks and groups of intimidating youths hanging around the city centre during the day.
Lancashire has had an increase in fatal and serious car collisions; the Metropolitan police commissioner is recommending that home owners install their own CCTV systems to help catch burglars; and I watched the first large scale pitch invasion at a major football match in many a year.
To me, these are all signs that the cuts to the police service are having consequences and I have no doubt things are going to get worse.
The thin blue line has now become the dotted blue line and the operational capability of the UK police service is rapidly approaching a critical breaking point!