Dear Editor, The last couple of weeks has been a gloomy time for the lot of the British Police and a day hasn’t gone by where questions have been asked about their true role in society, where they are going as a force in the C21st and the link between the police and those they are supposed to serve – the British public. Are they our masters or are they our servants in our communities ? This is one question I have heard on a radio news item recently.

Ever since they were invented by Sir Robert Peel, Britain’s first Home Secretary and a Midland MP [Tamworth] and eventual PM, they have been seen to serve with the consent of the British people and not like an army, as we still see in many countries around the world.

Only recently I was in Poland and even though I feel their police do a good job in their communities, they look like members of a special forces unit linked to the army, the police who patrol the airports are linked to the army and come under army control and with their guns, battons, etc, one feels daunted just asking them how to get somewhere. This is true of many European countries in the East and West and I feel quite sincerely that the police act more like masters than the servants of the people over on the continent.

In Britain the British Bobby is still something special. They look approachable, they don’t wear guns and even in this troubled period in our society where gun and knife use is rife, they manage to maintain law and order to the best of their abilities and without much hassle.

In Walsall in particular I feel there is a good relationship between the people and their police force and I feel, as a Neighbourhood Watch [NW] Co-Ordinator, the police here work hard, are approachable, care about the streets and people they patrol and do their best to communicate those concerns to the communities they serve. Infact the community and the police work well together in this area.

If I want to see a support officer or speak to my NW liason officer at Green Lane about a problem on my estate, they are available always and will endeavour to help and get things sorted out ASAP. In the centre of Walsall the police talk continuously to the locals, chat and joke, yet do their job when required.

They will always try and answer a question if asked and if they don’t know something they will try and help in other ways. When one looks at the crime situation in Walsall, it is a pretty peaceful place and major crime like murder is at a minimum.

I am a great believer that the majority of police men and women work hard, are dedicated and love their job. They want to serve their communities to the best of their abilities and they want to serve with the consent of the communities they are there for.

They are not like the few we have been hearing about on the news at the G20 in London, they are good and caring people, they are you and me, they are family people and they are brave men and women. Next time any of us deem to feel the right to criticise a cop on the beat or in any other form, ask yourself the question – would I do this job ? Have I got the guts and dedication to do this job ? Could I hack the abuse and violence faced on our streets from time to time with as much bravery and selflessness ?

Ian Payne, Thornbury Road, Walsall