Column: Tories are soft on crime, soft on the causes of crime

Everybody deserves to live with security. Security in their work, security in their communities and security in their homes.

But over the last 11 years of Conservative rule, police numbers have fallen, whilst crime and anti-social behaviour have rocketed.

Communities like ours have felt that insecurity.

I met with two groups of local residents across Barnsley East just this week whose lives have been deeply impacted by misconduct in their community.

From anti-social behaviour and violence in our streets, to illegal off-road biking, the lives of too many innocent people in Barnsley are being blighted by crime.

Local families deserve better than this.

It is simply not good enough that we have fewer police officers in Barnsley today than we had a decade ago and that we have faced the worst local government cuts in the country; cuts which have decimated the prevention and early intervention services which stop many crimes from happening in the first place.

The South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner has secured £550,000 for projects to help make women and girls feel safer in public, including installing additional lighting and CCTV in parks and woodland areas.

This is of course welcome, but it can only go so far and it will never fill the hole that has been left by nearly £2bn of Conservative cuts to policing.

You cannot sustain vital services and tackle the pandemic of insecurity from irregular one-off pots. We need proper sustainable funding and increased neighbourhood policing as a minimum - an issue I have raised in Parliament a number of times.

But this has fallen on deaf ears with this Government.

Labour would take a different approach.

We will bring back neighbourhood policing and launch a major recruitment drive for special constables. We will introduce new laws to protect women and girls and create a new Child Exploitation Register.

We will create neighbourhood prevention teams which bring together police, youth workers and local authority staff to tackle issues in our community at source.

I will be continuing to meet with local groups, the police and our Police and Crime Commissioner, to try to bring people together and tackle issues as best we can, with the resources we have.

But, we need a change in Government to truly begin the work of delivering security for our communities. Because, a time when life is getting harder and harder for many in our community, sadly, we have a Government that is soft on crime and soft on the causes of crime.

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  • Stephanie Peacock
    published this page in What I'm up to 2021-10-13 13:16:42 +0100