At the end of April this year, we had more than 3,500 community support officers in 38 police force areas. They provide complementary support with the uniformed police, whose number has risen by 6,000 in the past year alone. They concentrate on the low-level violence, antisocial behaviour and nuisance behaviour that blight the lives of so many of our constituents. They make a vital contribution to the provision of high-visibility and high-accessibility patrols, free police officers for other duties and give reassurance to communities.
That record flies in the face of the claims that the policy would be a failure, that forces would not take it up, that the police would not welcome it and that local communities would reject it. Those claims were simply untrue and the Opposition parties, in particular the Liberal Democrats, were entirely wrong—as they usually are.