In a TV debate last week, I almost fell off the chair when the Tory MP claimed hers was the party of law and order.
Recorded crime has hit a 20 year high, with over 6.3 million crimes but a mere 5.6% resulting in prosecution. One of the more sickening statistics is that only 1.3% of rape cases end with a suspect in the dock.
Vehicle crime is at record levels, yet was almost eradicated because of higher police numbers and initiatives Labour pursued with insurance companies and car manufacturers. Today, vehicle theft and ‘car cannibalism’ is carried out in broad daylight. A criminal market is developing because of a shortage of vehicle parts, due to supply chain problems the Tories have been unable to fix.
Like most of my constituents, I’m fed up with poor responses from the police and low arrest outcomes, but I don’t blame the police. They’re stretched to breaking point. We now have reactive policing which takes place after a crime has been committed, rather than neighbourhood policing which is based on an intelligence gathering and deterrence approach designed to prevent crime.
As well as boosting police numbers, the last Labour government also focused on anti social behaviour because we recognise it is often the starting point for more serious crime. We introduced ASBOs, special courts and ASB prosecutors, but Tory cuts have taken their toll. We lost 20,000 police officers and although there’s been a belated effort to replace some, it’s hard to retain and recruit good people when pay and conditions are so much poorer than parts of the private sector.
Present day Tories have no claim to be the party of law and order. They’ve decimated the police, butchered our courts and made life easy for criminals. Labour knows what to do because we’ve done it before. The answer lies in more police, faster justice, better sentences and targeted policies for ASB, car crime, assaults, sexual offences and burglary. On crime, we will turn the clock back. Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime.