Kemi Badenoch’s crime campaign has failed; it’s time to reverse Tory cuts

Kemi Badenoch’s ‘Report It’ campaign to encourage crime reporting to the police to secure more police resources has failed due to her own party’s austerity measures, says Saffron Walden Labour Party.

The local party is demanding a complete reversal of Tory cuts in police staffing numbers over the past seven years and an increase in police pay to tackle the crime wave that is hitting Uttlesford.

Saffron Walden Labour’s statistical survey, based on freedom of information requests and public sources, finds that since 2010 crime in Uttlesford has doubled. Crimes per 1,000 people have risen from 35% of the rate in Harlow district to 70% since 2010. Unless the tide is turned, within five years Uttlesford’s crime rate will be the same as Harlow. Between 2010 and 2017, Essex Police has cut one in six police officers – 567 officers – to 3,000.

The police inform us that across the whole of Uttlesford and Braintree there is a specific allocation of just nine officers: five to local policing teams and four to community policing teams. We have been told there would be an allocation of an additional nine staff for Braintree/Uttlesford, “managed in accordance with operational need.” Based on shift rotation, this means an average of six police officers allocated to an area the size of London and a population the size of Swansea.

Saffron Walden Labour also highlights the real terms cuts in police pay that are adding to demoralisation of the police, who are not allowed to take industrial action, and undermining police staff retention rates. After accounting for inflation, the starting wage for police in Essex fell by £2,306 per annum between 2010 and 2017 – that’s a 10.2% cut. At the same time, housing costs have soared and there are not enough houses for key workers to accommodate them.

Unless the police have a significant pay increase, Essex Police cannot hope to retain them and boost the skills the police need to fight crime.

Labour’s Saffron Walden town spokesperson Simon Trimnell said: “Ram raids are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the effects of Tory cuts on policing in our area. The police are already over-stretched and will now be under pressure to catch these criminals, who are taking advantage of an under-policed affluent area. This will divert resources from other crimes, such as house burglaries.

“No-one is saying crimes would not happen under another government, but Kemi Badenoch should admit that Uttlesford’s lower level of policing due to Tory cuts has coincided with a rise in crime. She should also admit her ‘Report It’ campaign launched last year for a larger slice of resources has failed because cuts have reduced the amount available.

“We want to return to the numbers of police we had before the Tories came to power in 2010. We need to give them a pay rise and decent pensions that reward long service to help keep them in the force, build skills and reduce crime.”

WALDEN CRIME SOARS 45% IN 2017 – LABOUR ASKS LOCAL MP: WHERE ARE OUR POLICE?

With Saffron Walden’s reported crime soaring 45%, the town’s Labour party spokesman Simon Trimnell has demanded local MP Kemi Badenoch deliver on her promise of more police resources.

Number of crimes per month

In November, Ms Badenoch urged local people to report crime, saying: “the police numbers allocated to us are calculated based on the number of crimes reported. This means that by not reporting crime we are making it more likely that police resources will dwindle even further – and so the vicious cycle continues. The answer? Report every incident, no matter how minor.”

While crime is approaching record levels, the town’s police resources have shrunk to the lowest level ever with no promise of extra cash from the Police and Crime Commissioner. Instead, Uttlesford District Council and Saffron Walden town council are having to stump up the cash to pay for a PCSO, who has fewer powers compared to a normal police officer.

Saffron Walden town council and Uttlesford district council have agreed to pay for a PSCO on a 50/50 basis over two years. The total annual cost of funding a PSCO in the town is £37,652. Labour town councillor Arthur Coote supported funding for the PSCO, but Labour is also demanding additional funds for more policing to stem the crime wave.

Simon Trimnell said: “A PSCO is no replacement for a traditional bobby on the beat and it shouldn’t be up to Uttlesford and the parish council to fund policing, that’s not their role. It is better than nothing, but still a lot less than the level of policing we had years ago.

“Austerity policies are making Saffron Walden more unsafe with fewer police. On the doorstep, we’re hearing more and more reports from residents of burglary and nuisance crime. I’ve lived in the town all my life and I’ve never known it this bad.

“It all comes down to central government policy. Where is Kemi Badenoch? Is she getting more funding for more police in the town now she’s been promoted in the government?

“Labour is promising 10,000 new police officers on the streets of Britain, paid for by reversing cuts to Capital Gains Tax, to return our police service to its former strength. Only then will Saffron Walden stop the rapid rise in crime.”

Saffron Walden Labour Party’s latest crime report has published the following statistics:

  • Overall crime was up 45% in January-November 2017 compared to the same period in 2016
  • Anti-social behaviour represented the largest proportion of reported crime at 29% of the total
  • Violent crime was the second largest contributor at 21%, followed by criminal damage and arson (11%)
  • The rise in crime was caused by a 40.5% rise in ASB, 60.2% rise in violent crime and a 63.0% rise in burglaries

Saffron Walden crime statistics can be viewed here: http://www.ukcrimestats.com/Neighbourhood/1248

Local Tories in Disarray Over Police Cuts

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.