Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:23 pm on 21st April 2004.

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Photo of Karen Buck Karen Buck Labour, Regent's Park and Kensington North 6:23 pm, 21st April 2004

My hon. Friend is right. I have criticised the Conservative mayoral candidate and challenged some of the figures from Opposition Members, but it would be wrong to say that all Conservatives are critical of Government policy. At a community safety awards ceremony a few weeks ago, the leader of Westminster city council, that flagship Conservative borough, thanked police and council staff for all they were doing in

"bringing down crime and improving our streets".

He also quoted figures that confirm a

"massive 53 per cent. fall in street crime and a 9 per cent. drop in violent crime."

Those figures mean 6,889 fewer victims of crime overall.

The Westminster Reporter, produced by the borough's award-winning communications team—which rivals that of the GLA for size and cost—states that

"we are pleased to report a significant reduction in a number of crime categories . . . and a close working relationship with the Met".

That is something that Steve Norris would do well to emulate. The royal borough of Kensington and Chelsea also has its say, with press releases headed, "Streets are safer as police blitz royal borough" and "More police community support officers on patrol in Kensington and Chelsea". At least Conservative boroughs in central London have given a warm welcome to the strategy introduced by the Government and the Mayor.

On crime figures, should the public trust the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, their local boroughs and a Government who have increased police strength from 27,536 in 1997 to more than 30,000 today? We know that one crime is one too many, but a crisis of confidence in policing stoked up by irresponsible comments also damages people's well-being. Instead, we should congratulate the police and praise the Government on the additional investment that has been made to improve the quality of life of Londoners.