Local Conservatives are in complete disarray over policing as police numbers are slashed, police stations are closed and crime soars.
At a local residents meeting with the Essex Police and Crime Commissioner, held at Saffron Walden Town Hall on Monday, Tory infighting broke out as internal party tensions came to the fore.
After the meeting, local Labour activist Simon Trimnell said: “It is quite clear to me that the local Conservative party is in complete disarray. The police and crime commissioner Roger Hurst, a Conservative, blames lack of police in Saffron Walden on Conservative central government cuts while local Conservative councillors are blaming him. Meanwhile, Saffron Walden’s Conservative MP is demanding we all report more crime to get more police.”
Essex crime rates in September and August this year were the worst and second worst months, respectively, since 2010, according to the latest crime statistics. In Saffron Walden, reported crime rose 37% in January-September compared to the same period in 2016. Violent offences rose 49% while anti-social behaviour grew 39%, accounting for 20% and 30% of total reported crime, respectively.
Saffron Walden is one of the communities targeted for cuts under the Tories as Essex reduces the number of police stations in the county from 80 to 30 in a bid to save the force £63 million between 2017 and 2020.
Local MP Kemi Badenoch fails to make the grade in an end-of-year report by Saffron Walden Labour Party.
Constituents have complained to local Labour activists that she is failing to pay attention to their concerns. Response times to letters have been one area of concern with many claiming it can take weeks for a response.
Many are shocked by the answers they receive, which appear to have been plagiarised from other MPs’ statements. Responses to letters on the UN’s criticism of the government’s treatment of disabled people were identical to a letter Home Secretary Amber Rudd MP issued on her website (https://www.amberrudd.co.uk/disability-rights-violations). Local residents also received letters in response to concerns over universal credit that were very similar to a statement made by Conservative MP Graham Stuart on his website (https://www.grahamstuart.com/campaign-responses/universal-credit/). See attachments.
Saffron Walden CLP Chair Bill McCarthy said: “Constituents have been used to Alan Haselhurst’s prompt and individual responses, even if they disagreed with him.
“While she has grand ambitions, our MP isn’t prepared to do her own homework and instead plagiarises her colleagues. It’s poor form and she doesn’t make the grade.
“According to the press, she isn’t even willing to make the constituency her permanent family home. Many are wondering whether she’s taking local people seriously.”