August 14: Burglaries must be a police priority

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THE revelation that police do not even identify a suspect in 80 per cent of all burglary cases can be identified in one of two ways.

Either criminals are using increasingly sophisticated means to avoid detection, a notion which seems doubtful when DNA technology is so advanced, or the thin blue line is becoming so stretched that there simply are not officers to carry out the most perfunctory of investigations.

Yet, while the challenges facing Yorkshire’s four constabularies today are very different to those nostaligic-like television dramas such as Heartbeat which was set in Goathland on the North York Moors, policing is nevertheless a partnership with the public and the strength of this relationship is critical to the ability of individual forces to apprehend those criminals who pose a continuing threat to the law-abiding public.

However, while the focus of policing has shifted from maintaining street patrols to the challenges posed by cyber-crime which was virtually non-existent 20 years ago, it is still imperative that victims are treated with a modicum of respect – whether it be on the telephone or in person. To them, a burglary is a traumatic incident and they find the parsimony of the police response to be totally at odds with the platitidues espoused by a generation of politicians, Conservative and Labour alike, who have repeatedly promised to put victims at the heart of the criminal justice system.

And there is another factor which the police must not overlook. Early apprehension of miscreants will lessen the likelihood of those concerned becoming career criminals and an even bigger drain on the public purse.

For this reason alone, every force should now review its approach towards burglaries. And, if they’re reluctant to do so, the relevant police and crime commissioners should use the powers at their disposal – after all, it is what they are very well paid to do.

Making the grade

AS the education profession’s psephologists start to scrutinise this year’s A-level results for trends to back up their arguments, it should not detract from the brilliance of all those students who fulfilled, or surpassed, their own expectations and whose spontaneous joy (and relief in some instances) is self-evident in today’s newspaper.

They are the best of the best and deserve the plaudits that have been bestowed upon them by their teachers. Their endeavour is a tribute to the willingness of many young people to recognise that the building block to a successful future is a sound education in those skills that underpin a 21st century global economy. This is reflected by the return to pre-eminence of traditional subjects which did become marginalised when the last Labour government started to place a premium on the quantity, rather than the quality, of exam passes – there is a difference.

Yet, in many respects, the true test of these A-levels is not whether the pass-rate is marginally up – or down – on previous years. It is how the students concerned make the most of these qualifications, whether it be at university or in a workplace training scheme.

As today’s young people are tomorrow’s wealth-creators, it is important that they do receive the right careers advice so they can make the most of the opportunities which will be afforded by these A-level results. Future success is not guaranteed, it has to be earned in a world which is only going to become more competitive with the passage of time, but the early signs suggest that this cohort of students does have the potential to make the whole of Yorkshire proud in the years to come.

Too little, too late?

HAS Yvette Cooper left it too late to save her quest for the Labour leadership? If she’d shown the type of passion at the outset of the campaign that was evident during yesterday’s provocative policy speech, the left-winger Jeremy Corbyn might not have been able to hijack the contest.

In saying Mr Corbyn is not the only “radical” in the contest, the West Yorkshire MP was making a profound point – it is slightly surprising that a Labour movement steeped in equality and diversity has still to smash its own glass ceiling and elect its first ever female leader.

However, it would be remiss if politicians were elected on the principle of Buggins’ turn. Britain prides itself on being a meritocracy and the plain truth of the matter is that Labour’s leadership candidates all took Mr Corbyn for granted – and were then lost for words when he started articulating an anti-austerity message that was far clearer, and far more coherent, than the arguments put forward by Ms Cooper and her rivals.