I HAVE tried to resist the temptation to comment on the behaviour of Thames Valley Police regarding the actions of Rob and Tracy Hearne, who witnessed the theft of a £10,000 trailer and followed the thieves (Oxford Mail, July 2).

Well, I empathise with the comments of the police spokesman regarding how the public must place their safety foremost when trying to help the police.

But surely, in this case, the operator was wrong in telling the couple to call off the chase only two miles from the scene of the theft.

Just by keeping the offenders in view, the public-spirited couple were able to supply sufficient information to the police in order that officers were able to stop the offenders.

The story did not state whether the offenders were apprehended or not, but I assume they were.

I noted also it was a police officer who called the Hearnes back when they carried on with their surveillance.

Well done to the police officers and the Hearnes. Not so well done, though, to the original operator.

Not only could £10,000 worth of equipment have been lost had the offenders turned off along one of the side roads along the A421, but it might have been necessary to launch the force helicopter at cost, something which has already raised controversy in the media. Plus, and I speak from experience, the officers involved would have felt a sense of satisfaction in achieving a good result, always good for morale all round.

The police service relies on the help of the public to make reports when they witness something wrong taking place.

Someone with policing experience usually prioritises thing correctly, gets action under way then gets the full background details.

Sadly, all too often, and again I speak from experience, by the time one has had to divulge one’s life history to the operator, the miscreants have gone or the caller gets fed up and discontinues the call – only to be called back on a number that the operator already has but is wanting supplied at length.

To the armchair warriors in the echelons of power at force HQ, I would like to remind you of the way things were done in the past.

I may be accused of being a dinosaur, but some, if not many, of the old systems had a lot to offer, and, may I suggest, were more acceptable to the public and to victims of crime.

CHRIS PAYNE, Turnpike Road, Bicester