Time to help boys in blue

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AMID all the criticism of South Yorkshire Police, spare a thought for the honest bobby on the beat.

They are still the figure we look to for re-assurance and help, they are still the people we rely on to enforce the law.

And yet they are under attack. This week, an officer was struck over the head with his canister of CS gas spray after being called to deal with a row in a pub.

It sounds like a scene from the Wild West, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg according to Home Office figures.

They reveal there were 203 reported attacks on this county’s police officers between October 1, 2011 and September 30, 2012.

Not surprisingly, the South Yorkshire branch of the Police Federation is concerned. It represents rank and file officers and has branded attacks on police officers as deplorable.

We agree and want to know what is going to be done about this?

It’s a question to put to the candidates for the post of the county’s first Police and Crime Commissioner.

They have aired their views for the last two days in this paper and they need to address the question of whether they will help the chief constable support his officers on the beat.

Police should feel safe in their job and the new commissioner should make that his priority.

We should go out and vote for PCC

AND tomorrow you get your chance to elect the man who will be there to support the chief constable in that role.

There has been much confusion about the role of the new Police and Crime Commissioner - confusion and apathy that could result in an astonishingly low voter turnout for a job that is so important and could have such an impact on our everyday lives.

The successful candidate will have the job of steering the policing budget, sanctioning the cuts that need to be made over the coming years, agreeing how many officers there should be on the frontline and helping the chief constable to rebuild the trust in the force that has been so badly shaken.

We may not have chosen to vest so much power in one person - but, as they say, we are where we are, and not to go out and have a say in which person we want, representing which policies, would be a mistake.

The sad thing is that this will be a politicised position, as evidenced by some of the answers we have seen by the candidates over the past two days.

What we want is a candidate to properly represent the best interests of the public despite their political persuasion.