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More bluster from the Prime Minister!

August 2, 2021 6:59 PM
Originally published by Babergh South Suffolk Liberal Democrats

nnu3 (By Notwist - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7814745)We have regularly complained that the government loves making announcements without any real substance.

A week or so after his widely derided and vacuous speech saying nothing credible about how the levelling up agenda would actually be delivered, he was at it again last week , this time making a speech on crime. Traditionally this is an area that the Tories have seen as their own, they claim to be the party of law and order but recently doubts have arisen about their commitment in this area

The speech again was a huge disappointment. Its main proposals included:

  • Permanently relaxing conditions on the use of section 60 stop-and-search powers for police to tackle knife crime.
  • Expanding the use of electronic monitoring for thieves upon release from prison.
  • Trialling the use of alcohol tags - which detect alcohol in the sweat of offenders guilty of drink-fuelled crime - on prison leavers in Wales.
  • Making unpaid work "more visible" by getting offenders to clean streets and open spaces in high vis jackets - modern day chain gangs

You may think these are good ideas but are they really the answer to the big crime issues we face. Unbelievably low arrest rates for sexual assaults ( and even lower rates of conviction), increased drug related crimes and the growth of rural crime which corresponds to the big reductions in police numbers are issues the proposals will not touch

What is even more bizarre was the proposals appear to been made without any consultation with Chief Constables or the police more generally

One chief said of the overall package: "It is just weird … and a bit gimmicky. Why tag burglars on release from prison, and not domestic violence offenders?

Asked if it would cut crime, another chief said: "No, but it will waste some officers' time. It does not address the big issues."

With the Police Federation expressing no confidence in the government following a decision not to offer a pay rise and with only 9000 of the promised 20000 police officers recruited ( remember the 20000 announced to great fanfare simply replace officers cut by the Conservatives earlier in the decade) there is plenty to do, particularly to address the poverty and deprivation that underpins a lot of crime

Once again the speech was aimed at a few cheap headlines rather than get down to the hard detailed work necessary to really impact the current issues with crime.