Ever since I became aware of things political the Tories have claimed to be the party of law and order.

That claim now has a very hollow ring.

Last year a record number, 21,000, offences relating to the use and/or possession of knives resulted in convictions or cautions.

Twenty percent (over 4,000) of the offenders were under the age of 18.

Almost every day we hear of yet another, often young, life lost.

A few days ago we had a former Foreign Secretary and wannabe Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, using a disrespectful and distasteful analogy for the "waste of police time and resources" in pursuing historic cases of physical and sexual abuse of children - crimes that have had long-lasting and, in some cases, tragic consequences.

Recently, the Times reported MP Priti Patel's concerns about the fear of crime being experienced by businesses and home owners (but not tenants, apparently).

Nowhere was there any reference to the reduced number of officers policing the area.

When the Chief Constable made his visit, he could well have been the only police officer in Witham at that time.

When did you last see one not in a car?

Like her party leader and Prime Minister, at the time of writing, who as Home Secretary for six years presided over drastic cuts to police numbers, is she denying any link between fewer officers on our streets and the increase in violent crime?

We were told last October that austerity was coming to an end but still the pressure on public services continues.

Whether it is in overstretched policing, inadequate housing, benefits cuts and universal credit, health and social service struggling to cope, austerity can and does kill.

Ian Marshall

Newtown, Kelvedon