ANDREW Hirst’s article (Mailbag Feb 18) provides details of the latest “soft” targets for police.

The venture proposed is to carry out premature ‘MOT tests’ on unsold forecourt vehicles and dip their fuel tanks in order to discover any untaxed diesel. It would not be so infuriating if “operation tax dodger” was being considered in relatively law-abiding times.

How this resource usage can be justified during an epidemic of burglaries and knife crime amounts to lunatic risk assessment and staggering financial mismanagement.

Huddersfield churches and properties are experiencing an unprecedented wave of burglaries. Lead stripping is blatantly carried out during daylight hours with seeming impunity. Teenage gangs rule estates unchallenged by all except brave civilians.

This is a time when police resources must, in their entirety, fall upon the heads of serious villains. Unless it is expecting too much of either party to show disunity over the paltry half-billion purse I ask Kirklees leader Clr Robert Light and the chief constable for their assurance that tackling major crime is their number one priority, when actual resource usage does not appear to confirm this unreservedly.

If police cannot tear themselves away from a total obsession with vehicles they would secure some public approval by catching the uninsured drivers of Bradford. Millions were recently invested in number plate recognition technology, yet it is reported that half of Bradford motorists continue to drive without insurance.

Before burdening the next police budget with mobile laboratories for a forecourt witch-hunt police could make full and proper use of all the new and expensive facilities placed at their disposal.

Constantly shifting targets and the introduction of novel ones achieves minimal results. A rat catcher who spent 95% of his time driving around bait points would soon be out of a job; as should any chief constable. The prosperous local motor trade is undoubtedly an easy income target for bureaucrats but, being no proven nest of criminality, police should leave it for now and get on with the main job.

Dr M T Gray