Neighbourhood policing will be protected with a plan to safeguard over 10,000 police officers over the next three years
At the launch of its Crime and Justice Manifesto today, the Labour Party will commit to keeping police on the beat – legislating to introduce a new ‘Local Policing Commitment’, which makes sure police forces guarantee neighbourhood policing in every area.
Labour will set out £800 million worth of efficiency savings a year by year three of the next parliament, as part of its Zero-Based-Review of spending, which the Tories cannot and will not match, to enable Chief Constables to safeguard over 10,000 police officers in the first three years of the next Parliament from extreme Tory cuts.
The savings – all of which have been ruled out by the Tories – include scrapping expensive police and crime commissioners and halving the cost of police governance; ending the police subsidy of gun licenses; mandating joint procurement and sharing support services. The Tories only have a plan to cut more police.
Labour has a better plan than the Tories who have already hit neighbourhood policing, leading to warnings from the independent policing inspectorate about its erosion under this Government and from Chief Constables about the future of the police. This risks public safety at a time when the Police are already struggling to cope with an increase in violent crimes such as child sexual exploitation and rape.
Launching the Crime and Justice Manifesto, Ed Miliband, Leader of the Labour Party said:
“Communities only flourish when people feel safe and secure, living lives free from fear and intimidation. This means having police on the streets, a criminal justice system that works for victims not criminals and action to prevent crime before it occurs.
“But I know from talking to people in every corner of Britain that that’s not happening. Because of the Conservatives’ decisions, neighbourhood policing – the foundation of good British policing – is at risk of disappearing, whilst increasing numbers of serious criminals are being let off the hook.
“Labour has a better plan. We will make different choices, finding savings to safeguard 10,000 officers in the next three years. We will ensure victims are at the heart of the criminal justice system with the country’s first ever Victims’ Law. And we will ensure the police have the powers they need to keep us safe, including proper controls for dangerous terror suspects.
“Everyone in Britain has a right to feel safe and secure. I am committed to ensuring a Labour Government makes that a reality.”
Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper said:
“Neighbourhood policing is far too important to let the Tories destroy it. That's why Labour is setting out a better plan - including abolishing police and crime commissioners and putting savings back into the frontline so we can keep police on the beat.
"Under the Tories we've seen fewer police on the beat, longer waits for 999 calls and less justice for victims as there have been fewer arrests and prosecutions for rising crimes like violence, rape or child sex offences.
"Now they plan deeper cuts to policing in the next Parliament even though the police are already struggling to keep up with rising complex cases such as child sexual exploitation, terrorism or online crime.
"The independent police inspectorate has warned that neighbourhood policing is already being undermined. Now senior police officers across the country are warning that neighbourhood policing will be lost altogether if the Tories’ extreme plans are carried out.
"Police officers and PCSOs work with communities to tackle everything from anti-social behaviour to extremism. That relationship between police and communities is the crucial building block of British policing by consent - it prevents crime, catches criminals, protects victims, builds trust and community cohesion around the rule of law.
“That's why Labour is determined to protect neighbourhood policing and we are setting out a plan to do it. We will scrap expensive Police and Crime Commissioners, end the police subsidy of gun licenses and introduce a new requirement for joint procurement and shared services to raise £800million in the first three years which Chief Constables will be able to use to protect over 10,000 police officers as well as PCSOs. These are savings the Tories cannot – and will not – make. And we will require police forces to set out their commitment to neighbourhood policing in every area - with local communities and district councils able to set local priorities and hold them to account.”
Shadow Justice Secretary, Sadiq Khan said:
Our criminal justice system relies on victims and witnesses having the confidence that when they report crimes, their case will be dealt with thoroughly and fairly. Communities also need to be confident that those committing crimes are caught, prosecuted, convicted, punished and put back on the right track. This confidence is fragile, and we can't take it for granted.
"But too many victims and witnesses are ignored or treated as an afterthought. Public safety is being put at risk by a prisons and probation system that is in chaos because of this government's policies. Violence and suicides are all too commonplace in our jails, with inmates idling in their cells instead of being rehabilitated through work, education or training .
"Labour will restore confidence in our justice system by putting victims first. We will enact the country's first ever Victims’ Law – giving victims a voice and entitlements to minimum standards of service. And we will turn prisons into places of hard work and learning, cutting re-offending so that communities are spared the blight of crime”.
Alongside the commitment to protect over 10,000 police officers from the cuts, Labour’s Crime and Justice Manifesto sets out plans to:
- Put victims at the heart of the criminal justice system – by introducing the country’s first ever Victims’ Law.
- Prevent crime before it occurs – forcing perpetrators of anti-social behaviour to make good on the damage caused, diverting young adults away from crime and banning the sale of ‘legal highs’ on our streets.
- Tackle child sexual exploitation and violence against women and girls – with a new cross-departmental child protection unit and tough new laws, including powers to prevent an adult from contacting or communicating with a child if there is evidence of abuse, banning the use of so-called ‘community resolutions’ in instances of domestic violence and establishing a new Commissioner for Sexual and Domestic Violence to hold Government to account. Labour will also ensure all young people are taught about safe and healthy relationships by introducing age-appropriate compulsory sex & relationship education in all state-funded schools.
- Build a justice system fit for the 21st Century – reforming prisons to ensure prisoners spend more time working and learning, raising professional standards amongst prison officers and greater scrutiny of those companies running probation services.
- Tackle extremism and the threat of terrorism – with dangerous suspects subject to proper controls, an overhaul of the ‘Prevent’ programme to stop young people from being radicalised and strengthening the law to tackle rising hate crime.