The Northern Echo's front page headline and story today about reductions in local police budgets is journalism at its most sensational. Despite "Durham Police Authority promising that its front-line service will be protected" the eye-grabbing headline reads "Budget cuts will hit police numbers", which is quite clearly not what the article below says.
North Yorkshire Police say there will be no effect on front-line staff. Durahm Police say there will be no effect on front-line staff. Cleveland Police say there "could" be an effect though they will "try not to affect the service to the public".
Yet we have a scare-mongering headline clearly designed to suggest that the numbers of police on the beat where you live will be cut. And the Leader inside repeats fears about a decline in community policing.
Nowhere in the article does it mention the deficit and the desperate need for the new Government to take action to reduce this - to avoid our country following Greece into economic and financial meltdown. Nowhere in the article does it say that the actions being taken by the Coalition have been necessary because of the grotesque way in which the Labour Government ramped up the deficit in order to buy votes.
The result in Thirsk and Malton, showing a sizeable swing from Labour to both the Coalition parties, shows that the electorate are not stupid. They realise the Labour Government got us into this mess and the Coalition has to take firm action to get us out of it. By allowing Rob Merrick free reign to write scare stories about Coalition policies is out of tune with public opinion and is, frankly, poor journalism.