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Public Services

Part of Debate on the Address – in the House of Commons at 11:38 am on 16th October 2019.

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Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Secretary of State for the Home Department 11:38 am, 16th October 2019

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to raise that ongoing issue. Young people need to be protected. Through the public service duty announced in the Queen’s Speech, much more can be done by agencies and Departments working together to provide support and preventive measures. Quite frankly, far too many young people are being exploited. That is why the Government are recruiting 20,000 new police officers and investing in not only their training and equipment, but their protection, so that they are empowered to tackle such crimes. [Interruption.]

While Opposition Members chunter from a sedentary position, it is worth reminding them that the Labour party would recruit 10,000 fewer police officers and, importantly, fail to back our brave police officers. Police forces and officers have told us that they need backing to search people for bladed weapons to tackle the appalling knife crime we are seeing. That is why we have lifted restrictions on emergency stop-and-search powers for all forces in England and Wales—something described by the shadow Home Secretary as “unhelpful”.

When our frontline officers told us they needed to be better able to defend themselves against reckless armed violent criminals and thugs, we listened. That is why we have announced a new £10 million fund to give police chiefs the ability to equip officers with Taser. Again, we have not heard from shadow Ministers, who have refused to back this measure. I urge them to back this investment in our frontline officers, who protect our people, our communities and our country.