Policing has never come in for so much criticism, Home Secretary Theresa May declared last month. At local level, it was also reported that the enquiry office at Falmouth Police Station is set to close. However, public concern over such matters – not least the fear of further reduced services through cost cuts - is nothing new, writes Mike Truscott.

A Packet opinion column of 45 years ago offers what now seems a scarcely credible reminder of the way things used to, along with the hope – quaint in its articulation – that the police could retain close personal links with the public.

The Chief Constable’s decision to close police stations in many rural areas and replace them with Panda car patrols had prompted mixed feelings, the Packet noted.

“Some local councillors have been disturbed by the news and view the disappearance of the village ‘bobby’ with a good deal of apprehension,” it added.

“To the old generation, and more especially those living in small, closely-knit communities, the local policeman is as large a part of everyday life as the vicar, the midwife and the parish clerk.

“He represents not only the law but a friend to whom they can turn in time of trouble, and can usually be relied upon to come up with the right advice at the right time.

“Centralisation is changing all that and there is a genuine fear that the police service will lose the personal touch which has been so essential a part of its success in the past.

“It is to be hoped that the Panda car patrols will park in the villages long enough for their crews to get to know the people, who from time to time will want to solicit their advice.”