The government have just asked police forces to find more than £500 million in savings each year up until 2014. Suggested solutions include cutting overtime and making officers patrol alone "to make them more accessible"
There is another option for saving money, a policy that could reduce acquisitive crime by over 50% and domestic burglaries by around 80%, thus freeing up tens of thousands of police for joint patrols or other priorities. Bringing drugs under the control and strict regulation of government gives us an opportunity to make heroin and crack users able to feed their habit without having to commit crime or prostitute themselves to fund it. The vast majority of addicts arrested for these crimes get released a few months later and then are back inside not long after that. The whole debacle reminds me of the You've Been Framed classic in which a small child keeps picking up a fish and putting it in a bucket of water only for it to jump right out again seconds later.
Surely the police force will be far better placed to keep communities safe while enduring these cuts if we removed the burden created by stubborn, cowardly and utterly self-defeating drugs policy.