Duty done

PAPERWORK, spending cuts and moments of aggression from the public mean a policeman's lot is not always a happy one. Bobbies on the beat had a just reason for a bounce in their step yesterday, however, when figures showed a significant fall in crime in Yorkshire. The challenge now, of course, is sustaining that success as funding declines.

Cultural change has to play a part if forces are to do more with less. While awareness campaigns and speeches by Chief Constables may seem like soft policing, they are much cheaper than arresting, questioning, trying and imprisoning someone for a low-level crime. Persuading parts of the public to change their ways is a necessary part of progress.

This is particularly true, although for very different reasons, of the serious question of sexual offences, which increased in number in Yorkshire. Police, the courts and the Home Office must demonstrate that people committing these types of crimes will be pursued with vigour.

A significant fall in total crime, however, means this week a policeman's lot is a happier one. Well done to them, but there is much left to do.