Violent crime has risen from 700,000 in 2009 to 1.3 million in 2018. The reduction of 20,000 plus police officers from the beat between 2010 and now shows what happens when you cut the police to the bone.
The minister then decided to challenge me on my record as policing minister. I was more than happy to defend Labour’s record in Government. We had more police officers, invested in after school activities, supported the NHS and ensured that we tackled gang culture at its roots. These ensured that we tackled a spike in knife crime head on. The minister is having to reinvent the wheel after his Government took a sledgehammer to my policies. This is time wasted and lives lost because of incompetence by the UK Government.
G4S’ contract to run the Brook House immigration removal centre has been extended for another two years. This comes less than a year after undercover footage broadcast by the BBC’s Panorama showed detainees at Brook House subjected to verbally and physically abused, amid drug abuse and suicide attempts.
I wanted to know how much to aborted tender process cost the UK taxpayer and was there more than one bidder when the contract came up for renewal. The response I received was muddled. The minister continued to repeat the phrase ‘due diligence’ but was unable to give specifics to my points.
I am concerned that a company has been given the rights to continue to provide this service without the necessary safeguards to protect either the taxpayer or those using the service.
Over the Christmas holidays the Government announced that it was considering a ‘Dad’s Army’ of volunteers to patrol and monitor our borders. This would appear to be the Government’s solution to cutting the number of Border Force staff and their resources.
I pointed out to the Minister that his own Government report showed in July 2017 that 27 out of 62 small ports had no visit from the Border Force. This left our ports open to illegal activities. No volunteer force will have the skills or resources they need to undertake a job of utmost importance. The Conservatives are failing to see the consequences of austerity and poorly planned policies such as a ‘Dad’s Army’ Border Force.
Today, David Anderson QC – the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation – published his report into the atrocious terrorist attacks we saw earlier this year at the Manchester Arena, London Bridge and Finsbury Park.
As a member of the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) I wanted to focus the Home Secretary’s attention on far right extremism. It is important that we tackle this growing threat head on and I wanted to Home Secretary to outline what the Government will be doing to ensure we are safe from these violent and dangerous groups.