August 2, 2019 12.32 pm This story is over 56 months old

Local Democracy Weekly: Ex-model on the run reveals police cuts weakness

Wanted man’s taunts reveals a worrying undertone for forces

We’ve all had a giggle at the story about Stephen Murphy, the man on the run who sent in a better photo because he didn’t like the police mugshot, and has since messaged local media and posted on his Facebook taunting the police.

The story went viral, probably for all the wrong reasons for both police and the chap involved. But when you take a step back, there’s a slightly worrying undertone to this story – one which, seemingly, exposes the weaknesses in today’s police force. Officers are shouting “Marco” and he’s yelling “Polo” but when they turn he’s not there.

We’ve written extensively about the lack of police funding, the cuts to officer numbers and Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones’ and colleagues’ repeated attempts to improve the situation.

But when officers cannot catch such a publicly visible figure, it really exposes the impact those have had and makes the force appear unable to do their job.

The responses to Mr Murphy’s posts on his own Facebook wall – later deleted – also show a willingness from friends and family to hide him – laughing as he posts pictures of police officers’ cars.

It brings to light the lack of respect for today’s forces, particularly in Boston.

Not only that, but all the above is highlighted the week that a rapist, from the nearby HMP North Sea Camp, was on the run for a month before being caught – despite numerous appeals for information in the local and national media.

Mr Jones recently praised new Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s promise for 20,000 new police officers over the next three years with a recruitment drive in September. — DANIEL JAINES

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