THE time and effort invested in helping Glasgow shed its reputation as one of Europe’s most dangerous cities was considerable.

It not only made for a safer place, protecting lives and improving communities in the process, but became the envy of the world in many respects.

Officials from London and even the US have visited to see for themselves what exactly changed in order to persuade gang members to put down their knives and countless others to stay out of trouble.

But the most recent warnings on policing numbers cannot be ignored, and if the decline in frontline officers patrolling Glasgow’s streets continues to fall, the Scottish Government may not be patting itself on the back for much longer.

The Scottish Police Federation recently warned that, on a nationwide basis, lives could be lost if the headcount of our officers continued to fall.

The police force itself has repeatedly told ministers that if funding isn’t increased, it simply won’t be able to do its job.

And despite the well-document improvements over the longer term, Glasgow continues to be Scotland’s knife-crime capital by some distance.

In 2022/23 there were 160 recorded assaults with a “sharp object”. Given Glasgow’s size, it’s unsurprising that the numbers were higher than anywhere else.

But the rate per head – a fairer measurement allowing for population differences – shows 13.5 in every 100,000 people in the city were assaulted with a knife last year.

That’s almost double the national average which shows that, while things have got better, you’re still twice as likely to be stabbed in Glasgow as anywhere else in Scotland.

We need and trust the police on the street to help reduce this risk and ensure perpetrators are caught and brought to justice.

Their presence acts as a deterrent to those considering violent crime and gives another layer of protection to ordinary people.

But in the last three years we’ve also seen a reduction in bobbies on the beat, according to Police Scotland’s own latest data.

In March 2020 there were 2553 local officers assigned specifically to Glasgow’s G division.

By June this year that had fallen to 2489, a drop of 2.5%.

Police can also choose from a wider regional pool – the West region – to make up the numbers if they are short.

Even those figures fell, from 1535 down to 1334.

If desperate, the local force can call on national assistance for incidents requiring major investigation or an armed response.

However, when it comes to officers on the ground, working with their communities, and getting to know the victims of crime and the criminals themselves, things are on the slide.

That means individual police officers who work so hard just don’t have the time to be proactive.

They don’t have the capacity to go into schools or to work in community centres in areas where violence is more prevalent.

The cops are overstretched, overworked and, instead of putting quality time into helping reduce crime in the longer term, are now restricted to the hamster wheel of responding to 999 calls.

Things need to change.

The whole city should be proud of the decades-long effort that’s gone into boosting Glasgow’s name across the world.

It would be deeply regrettable if a few years of government negligence and underfunding puts things into reverse.