Why is policing not part of the election debate?

Police officers on patrol Image copyright PA

Are you having a good election? I'm not.

I'm frustrated by the lack of detail and debate on key issues in my patch - policing in particular.

Forces in England and Wales are expecting budget cuts, whoever forms the next Government - something I wrote about in March.

Yet there's been scant discussion about whether police can manage with less, where the savings might come from and the possible impact of further reductions.

The issue hasn't taken off partly because none of the parties want to talk in any depth about cuts they'll have to make, and partly because crime isn't perceived to be a huge problem. The official crime survey figures show that it's been on the decline for the best part of 20 years, with recent, substantial falls in violence.

Yet in several areas the demands on police are growing - sexual offending, fraud and cyber-crime - while the service remains the "last resort" for people in need.

There's also a clear difference in approach between the two main parties on governance with the Conservatives promising to expand the role of police and crime commissioners and Labour pledging to abolish them.

Again, the topic has been largely neglected -- but there are likely to be important changes, whatever happens after 7 May.

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