By Alex Jones
STUNNING vintage photos show overstretched London police officers dealing with a raft of crimes, lost children and misdemeanours in the mid-fifties.
The incredible shots depict a flustered policeman attempting to calm down a distraught little boy, a woman who looks a little worse for wear being led to safety by kindly officers, and a thief being bundled into his cell by a stout warden.
In 1954, when the photos were taken, London’s Police force was 4,000 constables under strength of its 20,000 target.
The famous bobbies had to cope with a maze of problems including traffic duties, dealing with roaring drunks, lost people including children, attempted suicides, violent robbery and murder.
Despite the enormous pressures they faced, in 1953 the number of serious crimes reduced by nine per cent.
The London bobby, rushed off his booted feet and complete with helmet, coped remarkably well but senior staff are aware that policing had to become a more enticing prospect if they were to restore the necessary number of staff.
It is a scenario which will be familiar to many of today’s modern police force after budget cuts since 2010 have seen over 20,000 police officers taken off the streets.
London City Hall announced last year that Government cuts to policing have led officer numbers in London to drop to their lowest level per head in 20 years.