Huge spending cuts being imposed on police forces across the country places Conservative-Liberal Democrat Government coalition in an extremely difficult position.
Both parties have made great play in the past of a commitment to fighting crime by making sure there are more bobbies on the beat.
The Conservatives, in particular, were highly critical of the last Labour Government, claiming that too much money was being spent on paperwork and bureaucracy and not enough on the sharp end of policing.
In fact, even when the £100 million cuts faced by West Midlands Police Authority are enacted, getting rid of an estimated 2,250 personnel, there will still be more police officers in the region than was the case before 1997.
But this does not mean that the public will not notice a difference.
Chief Constable Chris Sims did his best to assure a meeting of Birmingham City Council that the police will continue protecting the people of the West Midlands to a high standard.
But he couched this with a frank admission that there will be an impact on the force’s “visibility”.
How could there not be an impact? Politicians from all parties are only just beginning to understand how the financial squeeze is likely to hit the forces of law and order.