Crime and Policing
Opposition Day — [4th Allotted Day]
Gerald Kaufman (Manchester, Gorton, Labour)
I am very grateful to you, Mr Deputy Speaker, for calling me at this point in the debate. I have to start with an apology: the Jewish new year starts at sunset and therefore I shall not be able to attend the winding-up speeches because the imperative of the synagogue is greater than the imperative of the Whips.
Crime is a concern that never goes away. Whatever the statistics say, and whoever quotes those statistics, crime against one's family or oneself is, for most people, the only crime. That is natural. However, statistics show that crime in many categories has gone down and that the number of police has risen. The Greater Manchester police cover my constituency, and the statistics that they have issued over the past few weeks, while not perfect, as they never will be, are encouraging. They show the beneficial effect of both the dedicated work done by our police in Manchester and more widely and the policies that the Labour Government implemented.
In my constituency, taking into account the continuous and justified concern about law and order issues that there will always be, the record is even better. Statistics that have been sent to me by the police in my area show that 76.5% of users of the law and order mechanism were satisfied with that service. That is remarkable because the satisfaction of the population will always be affected by crime levels and the effect of crime on themselves. Remarkable figures have been issued for my constituency showing reductions in antisocial behaviour, burglary, vehicle crime and robbery. We also have remarkable figures on the detection of serious sexual offences, domestic abuse, racially or religiously aggravated crime, burglary, vehicle crime and robbery. Our figures on levels of crime are a great credit to the police, so I thank the police in my constituency, and those more widely in Greater Manchester, for the wonderful job that they do. I repeat that that does not mean that the statistics are perfect, but they are getting better all the time.
Given the commendable record of the police and the fact that they have close relations with the community, what will the Government do? First, they will spend a lot of time meddling with administration and, secondly, they will make huge cuts in spending. The Home Secretary kept on saying-it was like a mantra-that we have a coalition Government, so let us look at what the Liberal Democrat manifesto said. It included the heading "Cutting crime with more and better police", even though there will be fewer police. It said that
"more police are needed on the streets...to provide a longer arm for the law",
but the number of police on the streets, like the number of police overall, will be cut. The manifesto said that, if the Liberal Democrats had any voice in government, they would,
"Pay for 3,000 more police on the beat",
but there will be fewer police on the beat. I can say to the Government and the Liberal Democrats that we will tell everyone in Gorton again and again that, while the Liberal Democrats will make promises, if they are ever involved in government, they not only fail to deliver them but then turn on their head. We will not allow the Liberal Democrats in my Gorton constituency or those more widely in Manchester to get away with that. What the Liberal Democrats promise and what the Home Secretary foreshadows will not happen.