Don’t dial 999 now just go on Facebook

ALL over the country, chief constables are giving serious consideration to closing police stations in outlying areas, and stopping front counter services so that the public will be further separated from the people who are paid to keep them safe.

This regrettable situation has been foisted upon constabularies like Greater Manchester by a Conservative-led coalition government, due to its pursuance of a budget-cutting agenda and to hell with the consequences.

Apparently, one-in-three of all police stations could be closed to the public in the next six months.

One chief constable is quoted as saying that they are all totally committed to improving the accessibility of police officers and community support officers, and mentions “innovative use of the internet and social media.”

Of course, I look forward to tweeting the desk sergeant regarding my lost wallet, but I am not sure this is what the public wants to hear.

What we need is some old fashioned reassurance, of the sort we used to get when we saw teams of officers on foot patrol streaming out of local police stations at the start of their shift.

What happened to the party of law and order?

Name and address supplied

Ale provides hope for pubs

THIS is National Cask Ale Week, and we are raising a pint to celebrate new research which shows more than half (52%) of all adult alcohol drinkers have now tried real ale.

This is an increase since 2008, when research showed just over a third had tried Britain’s national drink.

In the North West, substantial growth has taken place in the region, with 49% of alcohol drinkers now having tried real ale, compared to 29% in 2008.

One of the reasons this increase has occurred is because there are now a staggering 5,500 beers in regular production across Britain, with more than 840 breweries in operation, some in Wigan.

Real ale drinkers are one of the biggest supporters of the pub industry, more than twice as likely as other drinkers to visit the pub once a week or more.

This support is vital at a time when pubs continue to be blighted by increased costs and a decline in trade.

This week is all about getting people to try real ale and invigorate the local licensed trade in the long term.

Mike Benner, chief executive, CAMRA

Defra boss deaf to our pleas

WITH the Tory Party Conference under way, we have catalogued a trail of destruction created by Conservative ministers and their departments.

Defra’s Jim Paice has overturned a ban on cages for breeding pheasants; reduced veterinary cover at livestock markets; scrapped previous Defra plans to prosecute slaughterhouse cruelty using undercover footage; consistently expressed his support for a repeal of the Hunting Act; scaled back the badger vaccination programme, and promised to do all he can to bring about a badger cull, despite scientific opinion to the contrary.

And, shockingly, he has failed to ban circuses from exploiting wild animals, despite public and political support for such a move.

Kate Fowler, Animal Aid