The rise in violent crime, and knife crime, across the UK is deeply worrying. Young people are dying on our streets due to gang violence and the increased number of people feeling they must carry an offensive weapon.
When we saw a rise in knife crime in 2009 I took immediate action as the Counter-Terrorism and Police Minister. We appointed the Chief Constable of Warwickshire Police to head up a cross-departmental taskforce. This focused minds and ensured that we had a laser focused strategy.
The Secretary of State spent most of today saying that it was everyone’s responsibility to take action, whilst simultaneously ensuring that the blame for this did not rest at his, and his government’s feet. Let’s be clear, a reduction of over 20,000 police officers since 2010, painful cuts to local councils and chronic under-funding of education has laid the foundations for this crisis.
Action needs to be taken now that empowers our police to take tough action on those harming our communities and gives local authorities the resources they need to prevent gang violence from even beginning.
Mark Tami MP (Alyn and Deeside) and I have joined with Flintshire County Councillors in their petition to the UK Government in securing a better deal for residents. We have written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer prior to Wednesday’s Autumn Budget demanding that the ideologically driven cuts to local government are brought to a halt and that investment is put in its place.
Flintshire County Council (FCC) recently announced that it had completed its first round of cost cutting measures to reach the targets put in place by the UK Government. These cuts amount to £3m of spending lost from services. In total the Council face a £14.5m funding gap because of forced austerity.
These cuts come on top of the 7% cuts forced upon the Welsh Assembly since 2010 by the UK Government. Read more “Autumn Budget 2017: Demanding investment in local government”
On Monday, I asked the Minister of State for Police, Brandon Lewis MP, about the forthcoming police grant settlement.
The grant settlement is where central government provides a grant to police to perform their duties. The remaining gap between the needs of the police and the grant is made up with local government taxation, like council tax.
The projected central government grant income for North Wales police for 2017/18 is set, once again, to be cut. That means that since 2010/11 the Government has cut funding to North Wales police by a little under £4.5 million. The only way for our police to fulfill their duties and provide the protection that we need is to ask local government for more contributions. This sees council tax rates rise to compensate for the Government’s cuts. Read more “Home Office Questions: Police Funding Settlement”