February 18, 2018 by Whispering Smith
Whispering Smith Column published in the Littlehampton Gazette February 8th. 2018
No matter what reassurances our police commissioner Katy Bourne or acting Chief Inspector Kris Ottery may give us and, be they fact or fiction, does not in any way alter the public conception, especially in our area, that there is a lack of confidence in the police. That is a fact as stated by our Mayor. The problem arises I suppose in that you cannot continue to cut the service by millions of pounds and kid us that technology will make up for the loss of manpower. We were used to seeing police officers on the beat, knowing the police station was manned and seeing supplementary community officers about the town and we see them no more. Now we are likely to have to pay more in our rates in order to make up the shortfall in government funding, a shortfall seemingly accepted by the PC as being inevitable and accepted without protest by her office. To my mind, one of the big mistakes of the past was to politicise the appointment of a PC making it a political appointment serving the wishes of Whitehall rather than an independent appointment serving the local community. It is fairly obvious that things being as they are the government of the day will be supported by that office.
DRIVING from Arundel out to Whiteways Lodge I was very dismayed to see the amount of litter dressing the verges and hedgerows. It occurred to me that if the local authority cannot afford to keep them clean why not have a system whereby instead of handing down anti-social behaviourists with fines they cannot afford to pay or community orders that do little good, why not give them orange onesies and a litter picker for a couple of weeks? Too radical…?
WENT with a friend for a birding ramble last week, trekked along the bank of the Arun to Amberly. Up to my knees in mud and water, I fell over twice and lost a boot. Arrived back at the restaurant where we had booked a lunch, me looking like a mud-man, and asked if I was still welcome. I was indeed and seated near a heater with a cushion for my aching back. Top lady at the River Side café, Houghton. Many thanks.