The answer to high crime rates and budget cuts is – silly stunts over substantive action.
The cash-strapped force has recently shut its burglary unit, which solved only 7,623 of 70,522 break-ins between 2011 and 2016.
Chief Constable Andy Marsh last month admitted the force was at a ‘tipping point’. It has had to make £65million of cuts since 2010 and is dealing with large numbers of officers off sick.
Police chiefs were urged last night to abandon ‘silly stunts’ and get officers back on the beat.
They were told their increasingly bizarre gimmicks are undermining the job of tackling crime.
Officers were criticised for garishly painting their nails, posing for photos in bumper cars and stroking puppies for stress relief.
Others posed in bear masks and, in one force, drug squads insisted on asking cannabis growers if they were victims of slavery.
Yet shocking figures out this week showed that almost every type of crime is up, with knife offences alone rising by a quarter. Nine out of ten home burglaries are unsolved.
‘They have forgotten what their purpose is,’ said Mick Neville, a retired senior Scotland Yard detective.
‘Too many modern chief constables have got more degrees under their belts than arrests. The people in charge have simply not done the job.
‘The reason they do not investigate crime is they have never done it themselves. They are looking for cheap wins.’
Tory MP Peter Bone accused the police of ‘playing games’. He added: ‘Most people think police should be out on the beat catching criminals and deterring crime, not doing silly stunts.
Male and female staff were encouraged to wear garish neon nail varnish while on patrol to raise awareness of people-trafficking in nail bars.
Officers excitedly tweeted about ‘pampering’ themselves before shifts, and posted photos of their lurid nails while they were on patrol…
In Avon and Somerset, police went out on patrol wearing neon nail varnish to raise awareness of modern-day slavery.
The force posted images of officers pampering themselves with the catchline ‘Let’s Nail It’.
When the campaign provoked an angry backlash the force encouraged people who were criticised to report comments as a ‘hate crime’.