The rising in violent crime in North Wales should concern us all. It is happening under a backdrop of cuts to our policing budgets and the number of police officers on our streets.
This week, Labour secured an Urgent Question on the rise in violent crime following the devastating deaths on the streets of London. We are struggling with similar problems in North East Wales as County Lines have spread from Liverpool to Cheshire and Flintshire. The only way to tackle this in the long-term is through Neighbourhood Policing.
I pointed out to the Minister that even her own boss, the Home Secretary, has said that he wants to recruit 20,000 more police officers if he becomes Prime Minister. That happens to be the number of police officers cut since I was Policing Minister for Labour in 2009-10. Cuts that I said at the time would have dire consequences.
The Minister tried to sing the praises of the additional 3,000 officers. It doesn’t take complex mathematics to figure out that still means we have 17,000 officers fewer than 2009-10. She then mentioned that I voted down the Policing Grant last year. This is true. But what the Minister did not mention was this is due to the fact that it was still a cut from previous budgets.
The Government need to listen to communities and police officers. We need more police and we need them now.