Labour have attacked the Tories’ failure to keep local communities safe, as shocking new analysis shows huge falls in staffing for bread-and-butter neighbourhood policing in the North West.
More than 14 million people last year had their lives blighted by graffiti, drug dealing, and noisy neighbours.
Meanwhile the total number of neighbourhood police across the North West has fallen by over 2,300 in recent years, from 5,659 in 2015 to 3,312 in 2022.
Nationally, the total number of neighbourhood police officers and PCSOs has fallen by over 10,000 since 2015.
In government, Labour will restore neighbourhood policing, with visible neighbourhood police hubs in all local areas backed by new neighbourhood prevention team made up of police, community support officers, youth workers and local authority staff.
These teams would prioritise being visible on patrols, preventing crime before it happens and working with communities to address local problem. They would pursue serial perpetrators of ASB or low-level crime, as well as dealing with visible signs of disorder such as broken windows, graffiti, fly-tipping, or drug dealing. These teams will also support victims of anti-social behaviour.
In September 2020 the Home Secretary wrote to the Victims Commissioner to express her concern about “the serious impact that persistent anti-social behaviour can have on both individuals and communities”. Yet there have been no specific reforms since that point.
Labour has also pledged to give victims of persistent antisocial behaviour the same rights as victims of crime.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“I have consistently called on the Home Office to invest in Lancashire Constabulary and enable it to get back up to reasonable numbers after it was initially hit with a loss of 750 officers.
“We need all those officers back and more to ensure residents feel safe and secure in their homes and their communities.
“Outside of London, the North West has been hit with the highest neighbourhood police cuts – four times that of any other region in England, while the South West has had a 500 officer increase!
“My West Lancashire constituents regularly tell me their worries about not seeing police on the street and that has to change.
“Increasing police hubs, front desk and neighbourhood prevention teams will be a start to making all those in our communities feel safer.”
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said:
“Antisocial behaviour blights people’s lives and should be a major priority for the Conservative Party.
“While the Conservatives are busy sniping at each other, Labour has serious plans to prevent crime and catch more criminals.
“Police out on the beat and visible in local neighbourhoods are vital for stopping crime and keeping communities safe.
“Yet under the Tories, neighbourhood policing has been decimated – with fewer neighbourhood officers stretched to cover more and more people.
“Britain deserves better. The last Labour Government brought in neighbourhood policing – now we will restore it, starting with community police hubs and local prevention teams to tackle crime at its source.”