Faced with the significant rise in police recorded crime in England and Wales, we have every reason to feel deeply concerned and need to seriously question why, according to the Office for National Statistics, we have seen the largest annual rise in crimes committed for a decade.
Clearly swingeing cuts to police numbers, resulting in a reduction of some 21,000 officers since 2010, have done nothing but play into the hands of the criminal fraternity who see fewer and fewer policemen and women on patrol or on the beat.
I am no fan of Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott but I believe she hit the nail on the head for once when she said, ‘You can’t fight crime on the cheap.’
Particularly worrying has been the surge in gun and knife crime committed by young people with more than 50 homicides in London in the first three or four months of this year.
Cuts to Youth Services have no doubt been a contributing factor to this appalling situation, but I believe that its root causes lie deeper in the society we have become where the traditional family unit is often broken with the result that children are then deprived of suitable role models.
Many children are now brought up with little or no respect for any form of authority, and discipline – a word one dare hardly even use these days – plays no part in their lives.
By inculcating and insisting on such traditional values we might just have a chance of keeping alarming crime figures in check.
But the judiciary too must play its part in ensuring that sentences passed in court are commensurate with the gravity of the crime committed.
I am not convinced that this is consistently the case, and the excessive leniency not infrequently shown by judges provides little or no deterrent to would-be offenders.