As official crime statistics published today reveal an alarming rise in violent crime, Rochford & Southend East (RSE) Labour’s parliamentary candidate Ashley Dalton has called for investment in the police force.

Labour candidate Ashley Dalton with Southend Street Rangers team in Southend Town Centre.
Labour candidate Ashley Dalton with Southend Street Rangers team in Southend Town Centre.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that, in England and Wales, offences involving knives or sharp implements had increased by 16% to 40,147 in the year to March 2018.

The number of homicides (murder and manslaughter) rose by 12% to 701 over the same period.

The Guardian this morning reported that separate Home Office statistics showed the number of police officers fell last year to 122,404 at 31 March 2018.

There are now 123,142 officers on the beat – the lowest number since comparable records began in 1996.

Ashley Dalton said:

Knife crime is a national crisis, and one that particularly affects our young people. It’s not just an inner-city problem; sadly, we have felt the impact of knife crime here in our community, too.

It’s a complex problem that requires a complex solution, not all of which is about policing.

But one thing is clear; without an adequate number of police officers on our streets, more people are at risk from the violence. Under Theresa May’s watch, first as Home Secretary and then as Prime Minister, police numbers have been cut by 20,000.

We need a return to compassionate, community policing to tackle problems like knife crime. Labour has pledged to recruit 10,000 officers to work on community beats – that’s equivalent to at least one more in every neighbourhood in the country.

We must ensure our police force is properly equipped to deal with this problem, before more lives are lost.


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