Headlines often suggest that listening to the voice of victims means becoming punitive and even Draconian. Because the worst offences lead to an understandable scream of pain from the bereaved, there is an impression that the only response of victims is anger and a demand for retribution. In my experience that is far from the truth: victims in general are rational and the demand that “something must be done” is accompanied by a belief that the “something” must be sensible and effective. You only have to think of the parents of Stephen Lawrence or the wife of Phillip Lawrence, and many others who have turned a horrific experience into a lifelong commitment to constructive work on preventing the same thing happening to others.
Last week the Home Office released figures that showed the number of police officers has fallen to a nine-year low, with a dramatic drop in particular in the South Wales Police Force’s numbers of 6.2% in the last year alone. We need to look at how we can deal with these cuts whilst not putting people or their neighbourhoods at risk.