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I ask that the Minister show me some respect when I am making my speech. I did not interrupt him, and he should not interrupt me. In 2014, there were 1,000 incidents of moped crime. By 2017, that had shot up to 17,500. That is an increase, in my opinion.
I am regularly contacted by constituents who are understandably fearful and shocked, be they parents who fear their children will be caught up in crime or those who have been victims of crime themselves. They are being failed by this Government, and too often in Battersea, as across the country, we see the tragic consequences of those failures. Last year, my constituency had two fatalities from knife crime—two lives lost too soon as a result of a reduction in policing.
The police funding grant is just a drop in the ocean. It means a ninth consecutive year of Government funding cuts. It means police numbers falling to the lowest levels in three decades. It is even forcing Her Majesty’s inspectorate of constabulary to warn that the police are so stretched that
“the lives of vulnerable people could be at risk.”
Just as police cuts have consequences, cuts in public services across the board are also leading to a rise in crime. When public services are cut, that means that youth centres and services are cut; when school funds are cut, that means that there are not enough resources to enable our children to be taught and educated. Those are the results of this Government’s funding cuts.
If evidence were needed, the last nine years have shown that communities cannot be safe on the cheap. Austerity for the police and public services means misery, fear and crime for the people. My constituency is suffering from the Government’s failure to learn those lessons. Before more lives are lost, I call on them to invest in our services and invest in our communities.