Our front page story this week paints a bleak picture of what life in Watford town centre has become.

Assaults, stabbings, attempted break-ins and drug use - and Saturday brought more ugly violence as a man was left fighting for his life with head injuries after an attack in The Parade.

This follows a suspected stabbing during a fight between two groups of youths in Watford town centre on August 14 and armed police being called to reports of a group fight involving a machete on August 16.

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It won't be long before many people decide the town centre is not the place for them. Some might already have.

The Mayor of Watford's petition for more policing in the town centre led to a political war of words - apparently it is the chief constable's job to direct where officers are needed.

One reader commenting on this week's story drew a comparison between the number of times they smelt marijuana in the town centre and the number of officers they saw.

Visible policing does act as a deterrent - it is the reason some shops have cardboard cut-out police officers in the window.

A criminologist might be able to tell you whether you catch the most people with bobbies on the beat, but there are benefits in making Watford town centre a place where we feel safe, where businesses thrive and we can be proud of.

Most people would be happy to see a little spent on putting more officers on the streets and showing criminals they are not welcome, especially if it has wider benefits.