The Sunday Times Comment by John Blundell

WELL BEATEN PATHS: Your report Street-wise Chicago cops tame crime (World News) purports to present an alternative model to “zero tolerance” policing but it is redolent of a classic “broken windows” (zero tolerance) story — with a nauseous PC twist.

If it takes this to convince Ian Blair to put police back on our streets solo, then I will settle for it.

The heart of zero tolerance is the beat and the result is a tsunami of low-grade intelligence that floods in as soon as you have officers interacting with citizens.

The average beat officer is outdoors well under 20% of the shift, usually in the company of another officer discussing pensions, holidays, partners and superior officers. Just doubling that amount of time and making all officers patrol alone (unless extraordinary circumstances dictate otherwise) would quadruple their presence.

John Blundell, Director General

The Institute of Economic Affairs and author of Policing A Liberal Society