An inevitable corollary of public sector cuts is that the services people want most are axed while those that add little to the common good carry on regardless. So it is with the police, it seems. Undoubtedly, deep cuts in budgets have presented chief constables with a significant management challenge that they have done well to meet. However, we now learn from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary that local bobbies are being taken off the beat in England and Wales because neighbourhood teams are so stretched with extra work that they remain stuck in the station. A survey found that a third of respondents had seen fewer police officers on patrol in the past year as a consequence.

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