Sir, – The North Yorkshire Police public relations machine deserves a commendation for the recent media blitz of feelgood stories.

The coverage in the recent D&S Times (Nov 13) would suggest the force is actually on top of its game: “Police hail summer crackdown on crime” (p3); “Working together to beat crime” (p5); “Police spread message on tackling crime” (p10); “Extra patrols aim to combat rise in two-in-one burglaries”

(p14); “More PCSOs join county policing team (p18); “They’re going to clean up this town”

(p19) are all headlines that, taken at face value, they can actually be proud of.

In reality, these headlines are actually about promoting the virtues of some short term fix.

Many of the issues affecting our communities are long-term problems; high levels of anti-social behaviour is just one such example.

These issues require a more robust and sustained approach, piecemeal operations and initiatives will not deliver the results the public deserve. In addition, short-term activities usually borrow staff from limited resources in your area and subsequently reduce the already thin blue line even further.

Now I have no wish to detract from the hard work being carried out by staff at ground level.

However, officers are already buckling under the weight of the latest government target or local commander’s pet initiative.

Initiatives which are often developed to get someone noticed or provide an addition to a CV, as opposed to actually solving a problem.

Factors such as these are also the root cause of: 1, why our community doesn’t actually see the “high visibility policing” the headlines crow about; 2, why as complainants we often don’t get the response we expect and finally, but probably most importantly; 3, why criminals (and those engaged in anti social behaviour) often hold little or no fear of the police actually disrupting their activities.

Can I suggest that we the public take a little more time to read between the lines of hot air and, that the press fully exercise their investigative journalism skills to actually examine what is really happening at street level.

DAVE HASNEY Northallerton.