THE reduction in crime to its lowest level for 15 years in Oxfordshire is a welcome sign.

The fact that Thames Valley Police have achieved this despite huge budget cuts says a lot for the good work officers at all levels and their support staff have put in.

There will be cynics who suggest the figures have been massaged to present a better image.

However, Deputy Chief Constable Francis Habgood guarantees there has been no manipulation and we believe him. It would be folly for the force to do that because it would only create greater problems in future years.

Chief Constable Sara Thornton said, when faced with the cuts, she would do her utmost to protect frontline policing and it is her officers and staff who have gone out and made that pledge a reality.

They have achieved this even with the considerable added costs of the Bullfinch team investigating the sexual abuse and trafficking of young girls in the county.

It would have been easy for Thames Valley Police, following last year’s big trial, to quietly drop Bullfinch but they are still out there on what is perhaps the most important policing operation in this county’s history.

Everyone, from Pcsos to the chief constable herself deserves praise for their performance.

Here’s hoping for even better results next year.