Haven't you heard?
Police in some parts of the country are asking the victims of vehicle crime, or burglaries of properties other than dwellings, to investigate themselves by checking for CCTV, assessing the likelihood of fingerprints, looking for witnesses and questioning neighbours.
"Where were you on the night of the 17th?"
"At your house, mate. Playing spin the bottle."
Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary investigated 43 forces in England and Wales and found that attendance at crime scenes varied widely. A hundred per cent of crimes in Cleveland were attended by a police officer. In Warkwickshire, it was 39%.
This caused Shadow Policing Minister Jack Dromey to say: "Theresa May has cut more police officers than any other country in Europe. With 16,000 gone, the thin blue line is being stretched ever thinner."
So what can the law abiding citizen do apart from acquiring his own truncheon? I mean, this could be the start of a new era. Today it's car crime, next week it could be murder.
"Are you sure he's dead? And you say the killer drove away in a green Vauxhall Viva? Well there can't be many of those about. Why don't you drive round town and see if you can spot him? Take a hammer with you, just to be on the safe side."
I am being silly, of course. A shotgun would be preferable. Whoops! Me being silly again.
The British bobby is revered around the world and yet we take him for granted. What would life be like if we didn't have police to patrol the hinterland between us and criminals?
Back in the 14th century, each county had only three or four men appointed to "arrest, take and chastise" offenders. Their chastisemt was often terminal to act as a deterrent. London got a police force in 1750 but the rest of the country had to wait until the middle of the 19th century. Even then there were only 200 independent police forces in England and Wales.
Pay and conditions were often appalling. Threatened strikes brought improvements in the early 20th century and the Liverpool police strike of 1919 showed the consequences of not having bobbies on the beat: looting, rioting, deaths and 200 arrests.
Today's thin-blue line may be over-stretched but it continues to protect the society in which we live, often above and beyond the call of duty. I'd hate to think of it getting any thinner and a time arriving when I would have to don my deerstalker and put my own investigative skills to the test.
"Yes officer, I'm sure. It was Colonel Mustard in the Library with a lead pipe."