We can only live happy and fulfilled lives if we know that we are safe. For too many communities in Britain the threat of crime, and the insecurity this creates, continues to hang over them.
Under David Cameron frontline policing has been cut, and the shift to neighbourhood policing achieved under the last Labour government has been put at risk.
Cleveland Police has seen a net loss of 293 police officers since 2010 and the budget has been cut by another 5.1%. The force will be £35 million worse off than in 2010/11. Whilst Cleveland Police have managed funding reductions so far by working collaborative with partner organisations, there is only so much pressure the force can take.
Under the Tories, domestic violence and violence against women are being taken less seriously – with thousands of perpetrators being dealt with by community resolution, which doesn't result in any criminal record at all.
Despite promises of a ‘rehabilitation revolution’, re-offending rates under this Government remain high and too many prisons are failing to adequately punish and rehabilitate offenders.
The Government’s cuts to civil legal aid have led to law centres and Citizens Advice Bureaux being threatened with closure, no-win, no-fee cases being curtailed, access to justice being denied to ordinary citizens, and a lack of availability of any advice in some areas.
Labour believe the best way to keep communities safe is with policing rooted in local communities, by proactively preventing crime — rather than simply reacting to emergencies — and by putting victims at the heart of the criminal justice system.
We will create a safer community for you and your family
- We will protect neighbourhood policing, by making different choices to abolish Police and Crime Commissioners, end the firearms licence subsidy, mandate police forces to work closer together to safeguard more than 10,000 officers.
- We will establish a new Local Policing Commitment, guaranteeing neighbourhood policing in every community.
- We will strengthen local accountability, giving local people a say over the appointment of local police commanders as well as a role in setting priorities for neighbourhood policing.
- We will raise police standards, requiring all police officers to become ’Chartered Officers’ holding a registration with the College of Policing, and being able to be struck off in cases of serious misconduct – just as lawyers and doctors can be.
- We will enact Britain’s first Victims’ Law, giving victims of crime a voice and an entitlement to minimum standards of service from criminal justice agencies.
- We will protect victims of hate crime by extending legal protection for aggravated offences to hostility based on trans identity, sexual orientation and disability.
- We will do more to increase the amount of time prisoners spend working and learning, measuring prisons for how successful they are in reducing prisoners’ reoffending.
- We will nip anti-social behaviour in the bud, by making offenders put right the wrong they have done, with payback orders replacing low-level caution.
- We will create the ’Police Standards Authority’, replacing the discredited IPCC.
- We will work with the police to improve ethnic-minority recruitment, so that the police better reflect the communities they serve.
- We will ensure staff who work with the public are given greater protection, with tougher penalties for those who assault them
- We will pilot a new approach to 18- to 20-year-old offenders, incentivising local authorities, police and probation to work together to identify those at risk of drifting into criminal activity and, where possible, divert them into a more constructive way of life.
- We will work to embed restorative justice right across the youth justice system.
- We will ensure that drug treatment services focus on the root causes of addiction, with proper integration between health, police and local authorities in the commissioning of treatment.
- We will ban the sale and distribution of dangerous psychoactive substances, so-called ‘legal highs’.
- We will ensure we have a fair and accessible, efficient and viable civil and criminal legal aid system.
- We will bring in tough new powers enabling the police to prevent an adult from contacting or communicating with a child if there is evidence of abuse.
- We will bar convicted sex offenders from working with children and we will create a new child protection unit to work across government, driving progress in the prevention of abuse and exploitation.
- We will raise professional standards among prison officers, by creating chartered Prison Officers, and by confronting the neglected problem of staff corruption.
- We will reverse as much as we can of the Government’s privatisation of the probation service; decisions on the supervision of dangerous offenders will not be determined by profit over public safety.
Although Labour will abolish Police and Crime Commissioners, Labour's Barry Coppinger has done great work in Cleveland and has personally visited every ward in his large area.
Success in the probation system is built on partnership working between agencies, and on the strength of the local relationships between dedicated probation staff and individual offenders. The Government’s actions in breaking up this model go against the grain of everything we know about what helps to rehabilitate offenders. Locally, ARCC (Achieving Real Change in Communities), a consortium of public and social enterprise agencies has won the contract to run probation services in Durham and Tees Valley. Louise fully supports this new partnership which has kept our local probation service out of the private sector.
Louise brought Dan Jarvis, Shadow Minister for Justice, to Endeavour Housing, part of North Star where the excellent Chief Executive Angela Lockwood hosted a round table discussion with people from across Stockton who work with or support victims of domestic violence. Louise wanted Dan to hear first hand from the great staff and leaders at Endeavour, Harbour, Thirteen and Hewitts Family Law specialists. (Image above)
Yvette Cooper, Shadow Home Secretary, also visited Stockton to talk about vital front line neighbourhood policing and Labour's plans to save 10,000 officers. She was also impressed with the work of Harbour, a Stockton domestic violence charity which helps both victims and perpetrators.