Monday, 18 April 2005

Action on Crime

Figures to be released on Thursday this week will highlight the rising tide of violent crime under Labour (Sunday Times, 17 April 2005).
Why Labour are all talk
Mr Blair promised to ‘be tough on crime, and tough on the causes of crime’ (Labour Party Manifesto, 97). All talk.
• Crime is out of control – there are now more than a million violent crimes each year, and new figures suggest a further 8 per cent in the last year (Sunday Times, 17 April 2005).
• Gun crime has doubled under Labour, with more than one gun crime every hour of the day.
• Police officers already spend almost half of their time at their desks instead of being on the streets fighting crime.
• Every time they stop someone officers have to fill in a form a foot long with 40 questions to answer, blanks to fill in and boxes to tick.

Liberal Democrats
Liberal Democrats would abolish mandatory life sentences for murder and serious sexual offences, would not send shoplifters or burglars to prison and would give prisoners the right to vote. Mark Oaten, the Lib Dem Home Office Spokesman, has said: ‘I'm absolutely convinced that prison is a complete and utter waste of time’ (BBC Radio 4, 9 November
2003). And Simon Hughes, their President, has said: ‘Liberal Democrats have always been clear that there should never be mandatory sentences (Hansard, 13 January 2002, Col. 433).

What will Conservatives do?
Conservatives believe our society needs more respect, discipline and decent values. We will cut political correctness and police paperwork, and put more police on the beat.
Mr Howard’s five-point plan for dealing with crime in our communities means:
1. 5,000 more police a year. The next Conservative Government will recruit an extra 5,000 police a year. This will give the police the resources that they need to tackle crime in their communities.
2. Scrapping Central Government targets. The introduction of targets has increased the stranglehold of central government on the police. Senior police officers have complained strongly about the burdens imposed by this Government’s targets which distort their proper priorities. We will scrap these targets.
3. Publishing crime statistics on a weekly basis. When the New York Police Department started publishing statistics on a weekly basis, police chiefs began to be held to account for their actions on a weekly basis. We will introduce the same system here so that local communities can see how effective their police commissioners are.
4. Axing police paperwork. Police spend almost as much time at their desks as they do on the streets fighting crime. This must stop. We will cut central control of the police and centrally generated paperwork so that the police can get on with job of fighting crime. Freeing the police from unnecessary bureaucracy – including scrapping police stop forms – will
mean that more officers will be available to walk the beat, working with the community and acting as a visible deterrent to criminals.
5. Making the police accountable to their local communities. Elected police commissioners will reflect the concerns of the people who elect them, and as a result they will focus on the crimes that matter to their communities. They will be able to put police muscle power behind the public’s priorities – tackling crime and disorder: vandalism, rowdiness, thuggery.
People have a clear choice: a Conservative Government that will introduce tougher sentences and put more police on our streets, or more lenient sentences and more talk under Mr Blair and the Liberal Democrats.
Promoted by Gavin Barwell on behalf of the Conservative Party, both at 25 Victoria Street, London, SW1H 0DL. Printed by the Conservative Party.

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