Letter: Crime on our streets

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The Independent Culture
Crime on our streets

Sir: Your leading article "Stop these searches until it's proven the police aren't racist" (12 August) failed to grasp the true nature of the problem regarding the policing of street crime. It should be noted that a police constable's primary duty is the preservation of life, the safety of property, the prevention of crime and the arrest and prosecution of offenders. It is not the duty of a constable, or chief constable for that matter, to kow-tow to the pressure of "community leaders" or self-seeking, career-minded politicians.

The fact remains that a disproportionately large segment of the ethnic minority criminal population is involved in street crime, as opposed to the white criminal who typically is involved in property crime, burglary etc. Street crime affects all citizens including the law-abiding majority of the ethnic population.

The fact also remains that the most effective way of policing and preventing this type of crime is pro-active, on-the-ground policing, including stop and search. Its effectivness is illustrated by the increase in this type of crime since the predictable over-reaction of the police to the Lawrence enquiry.

If the public do not wish their streets to be policed, then they should take responsibility for the decision and its consequences, and tell the politicians, who can then remove the stop and search powers from the statute books. But whilst the powers remain, a police constable and a chief constable would clearly be neglecting their duty if they failed to employ those powers as laid down in law whenever they saw fit.

Until such a message is given to the politicians, I think it is probably safe to assume that the vast majority of the population want the streets to be policed. The police should also keep in mind that it is not just the vocal minorities that have expectations of the police. The silent majority also have an expectation. Put quite simply, it is: do your job .

STEPHEN FORDE

Stockport, Greater Manchester

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