When my father was a policeman in Morley, then Batley and finally a sergeant in Penistone, the majority of his time was spent on "the beat". His main role was to deal with the incidents that troubled people’s daily lives. I am sure that his presence was much appreciated by the majority and feared by those who could not conform to the norms of social behaviour.
However, since my father retired, all that has changed. The refusal by police in Britain to regard tackling antisocial behaviour as "real police work" has led to officers "retreating from the streets", according to a report today by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary.
The study says the scale of antisocial behaviour has been widely ignored, with 14m incidents in the past year, of which only a quarter were reported to the police. Sir Denis O'Connor, the chief inspector of constabulary, says that for 20 years police have increasingly left the public to cope with persistent antisocial behaviour. Victims have suffered repeat attacks and a high level of intimidation if they complain to the police.
One study showed that almost half of almost 6,000 people surveyed had changed their routines through fear of anti-social behaviour, by avoiding certain streets or not going out at night.
This paints a very worrying picture of the country that Pam and I were were brought up in and loved before we move to Spain.