If the community is to rebuild its trust in the PSNI, especially in the wake of the notorious data breach and the massive multi-million pound shortfall in the policing budget, we urgently need a situation where visibly folk see boots on the ground with local bobbies on the beat.
Yes, I appreciate because of dissident republican threats, there remain some areas of Northern Ireland - 25 years after the Good Friday Agreement - where police officers would be cautious about physically pounding the streets like a 2023 version of the hit TV series Dixon of Dock Green.
The huge advantage which the B Specials could offer their local communities was their in-depth knowledge of the hamlets and villages in which they were stationed.
CC Boutcher needs to restore that sort of pro-active policing. However, the reality is to accomplish this he will require a fully functioning Stormont Executive with a Justice Minister in post and a massive ring-fenced policing budget.
The political reality is that any DUP return to Stormont will equally require the sugar-coating of a multi-million cash injection to enable party boss Sir Jeffrey Donaldson to sell it to the hardliners in the DUP and fend off criticism from the TUV or unelected loyalists.
Then again, why not milk the Republic of the millions of euros it is boasting it plans to invest in Northern Ireland in the coming years. In the wake of the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement, millions of pounds were available for various projects.
Unionism and loyalism was suspicious of taking such funding to better their communities in case it was branded as treason.
The same dilemma could face the Christian churches when it comes to applying for National Lottery funding to help with the upkeep of places of worship given the post pandemic challenges of the cost of living crisis.
How many Christians can truly say they are giving a tenth of their incomes in terms of a tithe to God’s Work?
The B Specials found themselves in the frontline of the conflict during the 1956-62 Border terror campaign by the old IRA. Indeed, it was the B Mens’ specialist knowledge of their border communities which prevented the old IRA from escalating its terrorist activities beyond the border counties into the heart of Northern Ireland.
Is it any wonder nationalists and republicans, when the past Troubles erupted in the late Sixties, pushed so hard for the disbanding of the B Specials.
The B Men were formally disbanded in 1970 to be replaced by the Ulster Defence Regiment of the British Army, a move which was to hand the Official and Provisional IRAs and later the INLA and terrorist gift on a silver platter.
While many B Men transferred to the UDR or become involved with the full-time RUC or the part-time RUC Reserve, the Regiment’s soldiers found themselves largely patrolling areas of the Province with which they were not familiar.
In military terms, the advantage of the B Specials’ local knowledge of their communities was lost. This meant that containing republican terrorism to the border counties, as had been achieved in 1956-62, was gone.
Similarly, many Catholics who wanted to become police officers dare not join the RUC for fear of attacks by republicans. Many of these Catholics either had to travel south of the border to join the Gardai, mainland Britain or further afield to join police forces.
The bitter reality in terms of a policing strategy which CC Boutcher will have to face is that if he practically wants to combat crime, it will have to be local boots on the ground in local regions of Northern Ireland.
In blunt sectarian terms, if that means Catholic B Specials patrolling the Falls and Protestant B Specials patrolling the Shankill communities then so be it if it sees a significant reduction in criminal activity especially anti-social behaviour and drug dealing.
Likewise, there is the real danger that if CC Boutcher is not given the funding and resources he needs to assert the PSNI’s credibility and operational viability in communities, it will not only see an increase in criminality, but also the possibility of vigilanteism to protect those communities, especially in isolated rural areas.
The PSNI may give its approval to so-called Neighbourhood Watch schemes, but they are no substitute for bobbies on the beat. Will we see a situation where farmers in isolated agricultural communities patrol their farms armed with shotguns and rifles?
Similarly, in urban areas where Neighbourhood Watch groups exist, will be see men walking the streets armed with baseball bats and cudgels to combat hooliganism?
Indeed, how many of these potential vigilante groups might take the law into their own hands if they caught a criminal in the act of vandalising property?
Perhaps CC Boutcher should take as his theme the lyrics of the popular 1960s pop song by Nancy Sinatra, These Boots Are Made For Walkin’.
Follow Dr John Coulter on Twitter @JohnAHCoulter
Listen to commentator Dr John Coulter’s programme, Call In Coulter, every Saturday morning around 10.15 am on Belfast’s Christian radio station, Sunshine 1049 FM. Listen online.