Surely the greatest argument for reintroducing police officers to patrolling our streets is illustrated in the recent senseless and brutal Nottingham killings.

The suspect was wandering the quiet city centre in the early hours in stifling heat wearing a black balaclava and armed with a knife.

I was a product of the beat system in the early 60s and realise how essential a front line presence is in maintaining law and order.

A visible presence also increases the public’s confidence and cooperation.The community, of course, are an invaluable source of information and intelligence.

I am not daft enough not to appreciate that the demands on my former colleagues are much more diverse and challenging since my day but I am convinced that the chances are that this human tragedy could have been averted by proper bobbies on the beat and precious lives would have been saved.

Sadly the thin blue line is now almost invisible.

Retired Det Insp Jim Oldcorn