Whenever I get time I love to spend it with people in the frontline of our public services. It really helps me understand how things work and what the challenges are.
Doing a shift with a team of frontline officers was brilliant, I learned so much. This is a team who join up all the work in communities striving to prevent crime happening and supporting people moving away from criminal activity. But they are also out on our streets patrolling and keeping us safe.
Whilst our police are doing a brilliant job in very challenging circumstances, officer numbers have fallen to their lowest level in 30 years, and the police have recorded the highest crime rises in a decade. Under the Tories, over 21,000 police officers and 6,700 community support officers have been axed, despite a promise to protect the frontline.
The Labour Party takes the issue of community safety extremely seriously, and in our 2017 manifesto we committed to hiring 10,000 officers to rebuild the links between the police and the communities they protect. We also pledged to properly fund local authorities so they can invest in things like youth services which help to address the underlying causes of crime.
We are committed to promoting a more joined up approach across the public sector, ensuring the police work in close cooperation with local authorities, health and social services. In order to deliver stronger, safer communities.
While I was out with the Police we were popping in and out of communities, stopping at one point at the sight of someone peering through a ground floor window (as it turned out they had just rented the place but not moved in yet and wanted to have a look!)
The final stop was at a homeless night shelter in Hove where the support staff were working closely with the police to tackle street begging which is not only affecting our community but also posing huge problems for many of the people begging too.
By adding to police officer numbers and prioritising the frontline, we would enable officers to adopt measures which prevent crime as part of neighbourhood policing, for example focusing on repeat offending, victimisation or problems in crime hotspots.
My Labour colleagues and I are doing everything we can to raise these issues in Parliament. Labour’s Shadow Police Minister Louise Haigh MP led a debate in Parliament on police funding, emphasising that “the police are increasingly unable to respond to the basic tasks that we ask of them, to tackle crime in our communities,” we call on the Government to take steps to increase officer numbers.
Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott MP also spoke during the debate, urging Ministers to “address the real concerns among policemen and women and in communities about this Government’s failure to fund policing properly.” If you are interested, you can read the full debate here:
Please rest assured that myself and my Labour colleagues will continue doing all we can to put pressure on the Government to take action and make the safety of our communities a priority.