Look into the secret policeman’s crystal ball

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This year could see all the Police and Crime Commissioners seeking new employment if a new government, following the general election in May, abolishes their role.

Also, quite a number of police officers would put out the bunting and hold street parties, if at the same time, Theresa May was replaced as Home Secretary.

Those two events are probably the only potential items of good news on the horizon for 2015, in relation to policing and crime issues.

Pragmatically, the outlook for the New Year is very bleak for the police service. The number of police officers will continue to decline and crime rates will increase.

Perhaps, the priority concern for public safety is the recent international trend for terrorist acts committed by individuals with no formal links to actual terrorist groups. Predicting and preventing attacks by lone individuals is a virtually impossible task, without the provision of community intelligence to indicate someone is acting strangely. However, it’s not feasible to lock up or conduct surveillance on every ‘oddball’ in society, as there are far too many.

Further attacks, similar to those in France and Australia are likely to lead to an increased visible security presence, the availability of more armed police and security cordons. The general safety for the average member of the public going about their daily lives could be at greater risk than at any time in recent history, if the worldwide spread of extremist terrorism continues.

Regrettably, there are no signs that this issue is going to go away; in fact the reverse is true. This country is now a breeding ground for extremists and our security services have been fortunate to prevent so many acts of terrorism during 2014.

In terms of more everyday crime, I predict an increase in the use of technology by criminals. Cyber experts predict attacks on retailers at point of sale by the targeting of IT linked to data and credit card systems.

For some reason they think major restaurant chains will become the next in line for attack. Even the most low-level criminal can now obtain devices that can be used to break into keyless entry expensive cars. There are also criminals investing in cheap drones to assist them with ‘casing’ properties with high hedges and fences.

Despite all this gloom and doom on the police and crime front, I wish you a safe and happy new year!