Violent Crime

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 17th June 2019.

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Photo of Jim Fitzpatrick Jim Fitzpatrick Labour, Poplar and Limehouse

I am grateful to the Minister for her response and I share her opening sentiments.

There have been four murders in London in four days, with two murders in my constituency in two weeks. I commend Tower Hamlets police for early arrests in both incidents. Londoners do not want to see politicians scoring points and/or playing party politics; they want answers and they want action. Clearly, police numbers have an impact—Towers Hamlets has lost 200 officers since 2010—but I accept that the Minister says recruitment is under way. We need those recruits on the frontline. What discussions has the Minister had with the Mayor of London and/or the Metropolitan Police Commissioner about the deployment of those new officers and on the impact of the number of police on our streets?

On powers, will the Minister advise on the Government’s position on stop and search? She mentioned it, but the sensitivity of the bad old days of black and minority ethnic men and boys being disproportionately stopped should be prevented by the arrival of cameras for frontline officers. What has been the impact of the Government’s proposal from the end of March to reduce the level of authorisation required from senior officer to inspector? Will the Minister advise whether section 60 is actually still needed and whether consideration has been given to restoring discretionary powers to frontline officers? Mayor Biggs and Tower Hamlets Council have invested £3 million to fund additional police officers. Will the Minister advise on what discussions she has had with Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government ministerial colleagues in respect of more support for the local authority, and on how the Home Office feeds into the London violence reduction unit, which is trying to replicate the success of the Glasgow violence reduction unit?

This situation cannot go on. President Trump’s puerile intervention is not helpful. We need a more proactive and intelligent response. My constituents are anxious and they are frightened. They see low-level anti-social behaviour escalating to violent crime. We need a holistic approach to be advocated by the Government, the Minister, Mayor Khan and Mayor Biggs. The Government have control of the resources. I know it is not just about money, but it does help massively.

In conclusion, will the Minister advise on what representations the Home Office are making to the spending review to prevent more lives being lost? The police are working hard and they need our support, both moral and financial. Today, we all need to say clearly and bluntly that we join together in stopping this going any further.