WE are lucky. We have a police force people respect and actually like.

There may not be much of it. It may not be able to lock up the majority of criminals but nonetheless we are lucky.

The British bobby is unique.

Other countries do not share our view of the 'ello, 'ello, 'ello copper.

Go to Greece and you will find the police are, er, not respected but downright despised.

And judging by the attitude of some Greek police officers, the feeling is mutual.

But this priceless commodity – the community copper, the man you can ask for directions – is being slowly undermined.

Our underfunded police force is more concerned with hitting targets rather than hitting crime.

It may sound a bit jaded but it is increasingly true.

If you break into a house you stand a pretty good chance of getting away with it. But if you are speeding, ha ha, forget it.

If you do not go through a fixed speed camera you still may be caught by the man in his reasonably disguised van.

Yep, speed cameras are particularly good at gathering fines.

But do they cut accidents? Accidents near speed traps rose 15 per cent according to police figures last year.

Cameras do not detect drunk drivers, unroadworthy cars, drivers on mobile phones, tired drivers, drivers with no MoT, and drivers who are frankly in a world of their own.

If the obsession with targets (such as speeding) continues and problems with anti-social behaviour, burglary and robbery go unchecked the police will squander their greatest asset – the public's trust.

Traffic police will come to be seen as glorified traffic wardens – there to catch you out rather than there to enforce the law. Unfair I know, but that is how it will be.

The problem is that prioritising road safety stems from an irresistible argument.

Speeding kills so to cut down on road deaths cut down on speed. You would have to be insane to argue with that. Yes – and murder kills too.

So do drugs. So let's throw all our resources at cracking down on murder and drugs. Is anyone seriously recommending that? No.

We already have some of the safest roads in Europe.

Last year Thames Valley handed out seven million quids' worth of speeding tickets.

It would be good, wouldn't it, to see some of that money spent on coppers.

Kris Hall will be back next week