From Dene Francis, Northwood:

Police ‘stretched to breaking point’.

Not the situation today, but the CP front page of March 13, 1989. In the article, police top brass give a candid assessment.

Ch Con Sir John Hoddinott warned in his annual report that numbers of police officers were dangerously low, with officers having little time to catch criminals due to an ever-widening variety of roles and duties.

Ch Supt Challis, in charge on the IW, felt officer numbers were inadequate to do the job.

His deputy, Supt Cranwell, said they were lucky to have 30 officers on duty at any one time.

These officers were not commenting from some sepia-toned Shangri-La; the same front page contains reports of a knife point robbery in Newport, alcohol-related violence in Ryde, as well as increasing cases of illegal drug use, arson and crimes with a sexual motive.

But in 1989 there were 204 police officers stationed on the IW, with 144 of those on uniform duties. A further 11 new officers were to be posted to the Island after recruit training.

Much has changed in 30 years, but what is demonstrable is the capacity of the police to patrol, respond and investigate has collapsed.

Today, the IW police command has around 150 officers and staff in a ratio of roughly 60/40 — that’s about 90 police officers stationed here in 2018 compared to 204 in 1989.

The article ‘We’re not safe’ (CP, 31-08-18) gives us a front-row seat on the real picture that our police service is facing.

To senior officers in 1989 having 30 officers on duty was seen as taking a chance with public safety. In 2018, such daily capacity is completely unachievable.

It is a dismal picture, with the police buried under a workload they are unable to get on top of while preoccupied with their own day-to-day safety due to a lack of numbers.

Responsible stewardship of our economy is not cuts without regard to consequences. With such mindless reductions to our police, the government is leaving us all conspicuously exposed to harm.