Readers' letters - April 16

After two world wars, we still haven't learnt anything

Wednesday, 18th April 2018, 6:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 18th April 2018, 6:51 pm
What do you think of other countries including America getting involved in the Syrian conflict?

I do find this new form of warfare quite baffling.Not only do we have the President of America tweeting away like an immature teenager and making threats by tweets, but it now appears that governments – via the media – inform the ‘enemy’ of their proposed plans of attack. Is it any wonder that forewarned Assad is shipping out his planes and military personnel into safety, therefore nullifying any future attack from the allies and turning it into a fruitless gesture?What does occur to me is that, after two world wars, and an appalling loss of life, governments apparently have learnt nothing. Call ourselves civilised? Incidentally, I would also like the main powers-that-be to personally inform me in advance if World War Three is indeed about to break out – obviously being nuclear – so that I can hurriedly spend all my savings and enjoy myself before being totally annihilated by the stupidity of the Americans and Russians!Karl Sheridanvia email

Fighting crime a matter of intelligence

Criminals never believe they will be caught. Whatever police numbers are, may be or should be, it doesn’t make a scrap of difference – thugs will still go out and rob, injure or kill. Because that’s the way they are.In one of my former careers as a senior customs officer, I was often asked whether we had enough people guarding our coasts against smugglers.“How many is enough?” I would reply. “If we had sufficient numbers of customs officers to stand arm in arm around the coast, smugglers would still get through, so instead we adopt an intelligence-based approach designed to target our resources – which in a free society will always be limited – against the most likely threats.”Later, working on the police desk at the Home Office, I got similar enquiries which I countered by pointing out that if we positioned a police officer on every street corner or outside every bank – even assuming any sane politician would sanction the vast expenditure involved – street crime would still flourish and banks would still get robbed.This is not defeatism, it is realism.In any case, police numbers in London and indeed elsewhere have risen, a fact pointed out by the Metropolitan Police Commissioner when she was interviewed recently, to which I recall she added that, in her opinion, reported reductions in police numbers were not responsible for the increase in stabbings on London’s streets. The plain fact is that unless there is intelligence that a crime is being planned, there is nothing that any police officer can realistically do to stop a youth arming themselves with a knife and going out to stab someone, whether in London or anywhere else.Hugh Rogersvia email

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Firm stand needed on animal exports

I hope that calls by Michael Gove for industry experts and campaigners to submit evidence about the live export of animals is not just another Tory sound bite.EU rules currently prevent the UK banning exports of livestock but plainly after Brexit that is something we would be free to do. It is estimated that 20,000 live sheep were exported last year to Europe and, like many, I think that is 20,000 too many.We have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world but putting live sheep in transporters for slaughter or fattening hundreds or thousands of miles away is not good enough.The environment secretary is said to be considering a ban but all other options will also be up for discussion. Obviously those involved in the industry may have a vested interest in the status quo but a firm stand needs to be taken over this issue.Paul Nuttall North West MEPUK Independence Party