Preet Kaur Gill MP has today condemned the Government’s wholesale destruction of neighbourhood policing following new figures that show crime rising, prosecutions falling and the number of officers on our streets dramatically declining.
The MP has called on the Government to undo the last 13 years of devastation and step to protect communities across the UK. This must be done by increasing neighbourhood policing, including by ringfencing a proportion of the Police Uplift Programme to deliver neighbourhood officers for every local authority in England and Wales.
Ms Gill has spoken out following new figures which show the impact of 13 years of Conservative Government that has left the country with 6,000 fewer neighbourhood police officers, 8,500 fewer Police Community Support Officers and over 20 million people who witnessed or experienced antisocial behaviour just last year.
These figures, along with the current unfair funding formula, have had a significant impact on the West Midlands which has been disproportionately affected by crime. The West Midlands has seen the number of PCSOs, falling from 1,466 in 2010 to 877 last year and that is despite the Police and Crime Commissioners success in securing the region with additional officers. That is a decrease of more than 40%.
Preet Kaur Gill, MP for Birmingham Edgbaston said, “After 13 years, the Conservative legacy is criminals being let off while victims are being let down. Everyone has a right to feel safe and secure in their homes and in their community. But the Conservatives failure means it is the millions of victims that are paying the price.
“As a mother of two young girls, I know the worry that parents have about their children playing in the park or being targeted online. Knife crime alone has increased in the West Midlands by 115% since 2015. It’s why this question around crime and anti-social behaviour must tackle more than just policing. We must also look at our youth services which have also been decimated.
“In my constituency of Edgbaston, the Government could have made a big difference by simply granting our levelling up bid. This would have seen Quinton Police Station transformed into a community hub, providing a base for the Police but also giving additional support for youth provision, local training and reskilling. Instead, they once again chose to put party first, country second. The bid was refused and instead, the biggest regional recipients were those where the Conservatives are most vulnerable to losing marginal seats to Labour. That’s not fair or right.
“The last Labour government cut crime by a third and rolled out neighbourhood policing across the country. The next Labour government will rebuild neighbourhood policing through a £360m package, delivering 13,000 extra neighbourhood officers and PCSOs, putting police back on the beat.”
Under Labour’s plan, every constituency in England and Wales will get an average of 15-20 additional police on the beat. In Birmingham Edgbaston, this will mean doubling the existing neighbourhood policing capacity.
Labour will also be tough on the causes of crime, outlawing the grooming of kids for crime, providing mentors for children who are sent to Pupil Referral Units to help get them back on track, and linking youth workers to hospitals and custody suites to reach young people who are becoming involved in gangs as part of a nationwide strategy to tackle youth vulnerability to crime.