Recent letters to the press from Andrew Farquhar, including last week’s Southern, clearly make the case for retaining police traffic wardens in the Borders.
It is regrettable that it’s necessary for the case to be made at all and Police Scotland appear blind to its serious miscalculation in even contemplating such action.
However, the proposal to withdraw police traffic warden services is only one of the many poor strategic and operational decisions that Police Scotland has made following the ill-considered and rushed operation to amalgamate the former eight Scottish police forces.
The concept of a single police force was, in principle, a sound and logical development for policing in the 21st century.
However, for the transition to full amalgamation to have been successful, the task required extensive and detailed planning linked to a carefully phased-integration of all existing policing resources and departments.
The operation was, however, carried out with undue haste, inadequate planning and mind-blowing arrogance, and the consequences have manifested themselves over the past nine months and continue to do so. I would venture to suggest that in rural areas Police Scotland has so far got much more wrong than right.
Returning to the matter of police traffic wardens and Mr Farquhar’s wake-up call, Borders residents need to know the true value of having wardens patrolling the streets.
I have recently seen statistics quoted in the local media in relation to the number of “tickets” issued by wardens and comments ridiculing the numbers, suggesting that the returns did not represent value for money.
Might I suggest that the issuing of “tickets” is only a relatively small part of what a police traffic warden accomplishes in a routine shift.
As stated by Mr Farquhar, who, unlike some commentators, is well informed, these individuals are “police” traffic wardens and that is clearly displayed on their uniform. They must not be confused with local authority or private parking wardens whose remit and functions are limited.
Police traffic wardens are a valuable resource and play a major and frequently-underestimated role in dealing with a range of issues, including ensuring that traffic flows as smoothly and safely as possible. They provide a valuable link between the police and members of the public, whether they be motorists or otherwise. They are additional eyes and ears for the police and directly linked by radio to police stations, with the ability to provide immediate support and a response to ongoing issues.
To suggest withdrawing their presence from our streets to save a pittance is another example of ill-informed and arrogant decision-making by Police Scotland. Perhaps an increase in numbers would be a more appropriate and realistic suggestion.