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View from the Ridge: It’s not a hate crime to focus on core policing

Right call: Ch Con Sara Thornton PICTURE: PA

BEING burgled is a terrifying experience. The knowledge that someone has managed to gain access to the one place where you should be able to feel safe. The realisation that a stranger has been rifling through your personal possessions.

The awareness that every time a floorboard creaks or the boiler cranks up your heart will flutter in fear at the thought that someone is in your house, that it is happening again.

Despite the far-reaching consequences of being burgled (of which the loss of your possessions is just one part) the crime simply hasn’t been a priority for stretched police forces.

At a time when the number of murders and knife offences is rising, cops are being forced to prioritise resources thanks to a 19 per cent real terms decrease in funding and the loss of 20,000 officers since 2010.

This week Ch Con Sara Thornton called for the police to focus on catching thieves and violent criminals rather than logging gender-based hate crime and investigating offences committed by people who are dead.

She said: ‘We are asked to provide more and more bespoke services that are all desirable — but the simple fact is there are too many desirable and deserving issues. Neither investigating gender-based hate crime or investigating allegations against those who have died are necessarily bad things — I just argue that they cannot be priorities for a service that is over-stretched.’

Tackling crimes against women and girls can only be a good thing. However, focusing on core policing issues such as burglary also benefits women — just ask any female victim of the terrifying crime.

If politicians want to add to the workload that police forces are struggling under, then more money needs to be allocated to the police.

Until that happens, Sara Thornton is right to call for a ‘refocus on core policing’.

Even the chancellor admits his Budget risks not adding up

Surreal: Philip Hammond PICTURE: REX

THE Budget provided this week’s drama in Westminster — but the staging was rather surreal. The main protagonists are unlikely to be around to see out the policies and the entire script could be ripped up in a few months’ time.

When I interviewed Philip Hammond last week he told me that if the UK doesn’t secure a Brexit deal with the EU, ‘frankly we would need a new Budget’.

Perhaps it’s unsurprising that in a No Deal scenario, the chancellor would want to pull some serious fiscal levers to stimulate the economy.

But it’s still quite something to hear him say it just before delivering the actual Budget that it would supersede.

How pet peeves may still derail Brexit deal

Optimist: Mr Raab PICTURE: BBC

IN A rare display of optimism, the prime minister has insisted the Brexit deal is 95 per cent done and the Brexit secretary thinks there will be an agreement in weeks.

Don’t crack open the champagne just yet, however. The current favourite analogy doing the rounds in the Westminster tea rooms is a messy divorce where it’s easy to divide up the books and the record collection — but you can’t chop the family pet in half…

Skewering editor for his vegan quip leaves a bad taste

WHEN did everyone get so thin-skinned? William Sitwell, the editor of Waitrose magazine, lost his job for making an admittedly poor taste joke about vegans.

When a freelancer emailed him a pitch about a feature on veganism, he replied: ‘How about a series on killing vegans, one by one. Ways to trap them? How to interrogate them properly? Expose their hypocrisy? Force-feed them meat?’

OK, it was a rather bizarre and aggressive reply. But in a world where 43 journalists were killed this year as a result of their work — including at least one who was dismembered in a consulate, others who were murdered in Western European countries — is this really what we’re getting worked up about?

Perhaps Waitrose was understandably nervous about upsetting an important customer base. But Sitwell’s resignation has only turned the vegan row into a bigger story.

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