Karin Smyth MP calls out Tory Government’s “complete failure” to make Bristol streets safe

Karin Smyth, MP for Bristol South, has called out the Tory Government’s “complete failure” to improve safety on Bristol’s streets.

13 years of Tory Government has led to a drop in Neighbourhood Police Officers by 6,000 and of Police Community Support Officers by 8,500. Over 14,000 police officers have been lost with the unsurprising result that charges and prosecutions of all types of crime have collapsed to an overall charge rate of 5.5%. England and Wales now has fewer Police Officers than it did when Labour was last in government in 2010.

The percentage of people who say they never see a Police Officer on their streets has doubled since the Tories came to power over a decade ago. Worryingly, the charge rate for crimes of theft stands at a tiny 4.1% and a staggeringly low 1.6% for rape. This is while recorded rape and sexual offences have hit record highs. Moreover, knife crime is up more than 70% from 2015 with an increase of 63% in stabbings.

In the South West, there has been a loss of 35% of Community Officers and PCSOs.

The Labour Party want to rebuild neighbourhood policing to deliver 13,000 extra Neighbourhood Officers and PCSOs to ensure that there is a visible police presence of police on the beat, in their neighbourhoods, reassuring local communities.

Included in the plan to increase the numbers of community officers and PCSOs is to improve the rate of preventative work that successive Conservative Governments have destroyed. Labour will be tough on the causes of crime, working to ensure that young people who are caught committing crime are linked with mentors and youth workers to help get them back on track.

Labour held an Opposition Day Debate on Tuesday 31 January to call upon the Tory Government to act. Karin Smyth MP voted in favour of the motion put forward.

Labour MP for Bristol South, Karin Smyth said:

“It’s clear that the last 13 years of Tory rule has been a complete failure. Our streets are less safe, our courts have backlogs longer than imaginable, and prisons are overflowing. The Tories record on crime is shocking.

“Neighbourhood policing is vital for the safety of our constituents and our streets. Neighbourhood Police know their beats, they know the problem hotspots and they know their communities. Because of these connections, they are also more accountable to their communities. We need to get back our trust in our police and good, well-resourced Neighbourhood Policing is the place to start.

“The Tories talk tough on crime, but when push comes to shove, they are shown to be incompetent at securing our safety. It took a Labour Government in 1997 to put Bobbies back on the beat and we’ll do it again. Bristol needs our Neighbourhood Police Officers back and Labour in government will do just that.”