MORE bobbies on the beat, a ban on TV screening of live police interviews and a shake-up of the CPS would all help restore the public’s faith in the police, a former West Mercia chief officer has claimed in his latest book.

Brian Humphreys is what could accurately be described as an old-time copper and although knows it's been some time since handing in his warrant card, can point out he was employed for many years afterwards reviewing crime investigations and mentoring young officers. He kept in touch.

Brian began as a police cadet in Hereford, served as station sergeant covering Alfrick and surrounding rural parishes, was an inspector at Worcester and rose through the ranks, ending up a chief superintendent.

He’s been there, seen it, done it, written several books about it and appreciates times and methods change. But he’s not over-enthused by the state of policing today. And in his latest effort The Death of Community Policing, lays bare what he believes has gone wrong.

“I am not naïve enough to fail to understand I will inevitably be regarded as one of those ancient ‘old dogs’ who are out of date and unable to accept change,” he said. “ But police forces are now in crisis to such an extent they no longer carry the support of the public as they did not long ago.

“Our police used to patrol and be available in all rural and urban areas. Now they just respond from central hubs, there’s no preventive patrol. Police resources have not kept up with demand, indeed, they have been cut.”

Brian claims many chief constables are now saying they are putting every effort into regaining the confidence of the public by returning to ‘community policing’.

“But is that hypocritical or what,” he adds, “when they are closing so many police stations. If they think that community policing is driving around in a car then they are very mistaken.

“The justification that electronic communications have replaced the need for local police stations simply will not wash with me. One has only to attempt to contact a police station by telephone - if you can find the number – to discover you will invariably be greeted by an automatic message.”

There is also a swipe at what happens when suspected criminals are brought before the court: “The Crown Prosecution Service has now been sarcastically termed by many as the ‘Criminals’ Protection Service’.

“Police need to gain permission from the CPS to charge suspects. This will not be forthcoming without hard evidence being available and likely to prove the case. Thanks to that culture, almost all suspects now refuse to answer police questions.

“In such cases, juries should be told they may infer what they wish when suspects have refused to make comment. At present, this is not allowed because they are taking advantage of their ‘human rights’.

“But human rights of the individual have to be excepted when the human rights of victims have been apparently abused. In such cases, juries should be informed they can assume guilt by such refusals to answer police questions. Fly-on-the-wall TV programmes have taught criminals how to reduce their chances of being caught. Live police interviews should not be screened.”

And there’s more: “There appears a reluctance for fear of repercussions to direct officers to deal with events. The Manchester Arena bombing was a good example of the lack of direction and skills.

“The reluctance to police those who choose to pull down statues of our historical heroes and those who block motorways, appears to stem from court decisions and quirks of the law which perhaps our police managers don’t agree with. Laws are made by others in other places and our job is not to question their making but to ensure that those laws are complied with without any bias.

“Our leaders appear to be devoting more time to political ‘hot potato’ HR matters, classed by some as ‘Wokism’, than their basic tasks of policing. The public aren’t so interested in how the police are employed or behave, so long as they behave properly and deal with their complaints efficiently. Eyes have been taken off balls”.

• The Death of Community Policing by Brian Humphreys is available on Amazon at £9.99