The only surprise about the decision by West Midlands and Staffordshire police forces to return to "common sense policing" is that it has taken so long.
They, along with Surrey and Leicestershire, have decided the best person to decide if a crime has been committed is not the civil servant in Whitehall but the police officer on the ground.
A common sense approach you would have thought but one that appears to have deserted the mandarins of the Civil Service, their political masters and, it has to be said, some senior figures within the police service itself.
For years, officers of all ranks have complained that they are hamstrung by bureaucracy and the necessity to fill out forms in triplicate (or more) for every minor misdemeanour or indiscretion they come across. A few decades ago, a youngster would probably have got a clip around the ear - not that anyone can condone that sort of policing action now - or a stern telling off if they accidentally damaged property or were a bit too boisterous for the neighbour's liking.
Nowadays, they're more than likely to be marched off to a police station, have their DNA taken, their details entered on the national register and find themselves with a criminal conviction. And the officers involved will find themselves spending several hours making sure all the necessary forms are filled to the nth degree.
If the decision by these four forces helps distil or erode the target-driven culture that has tied them to the lunacy of Government diktats at the expense of serving the public, then perhaps society will get the police service it demands and deserves. In return, society will have to show the respect and understanding the police deserve.
The clock cannot be turned back but at least this is a small yet significant step on the road to tackling some of society's ills.