Policing (England and Wales)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:27 pm on 24th February 2020.

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Photo of Diane Abbott Diane Abbott Shadow Home Secretary 6:27 pm, 24th February 2020

I entirely share my hon. Friend’s concern that the people of Teesside do not appear to be treated fairly. Cuts have consequences—in Cleveland as well as everywhere else. Over the past 10 years, almost every conceivable social factor has contributed to rising crime. Ministers did not mention these things, but let me remind the House that youth services have been slashed, schools have been encouraged to exclude pupils, inequality and poverty have been made worse, some of our young people have become resigned to a life of zero-hours contracts, and drug and alcohol rehabilitation funding has been slashed. Mental health funding has been decimated, as, too, has the probation service, which we have seen in the probation activities in relation to recent terrorist activity. The criminal justice system is in crisis. Our prisons have become places where a person is more likely to become a hardened criminal, a drug user, or radicalised.

It is an abysmal record of failure. Ministers cannot expect their claims of being the natural party of law and order to be taken seriously when they have allowed the criminal justice system to fall into this state. It is no use these Ministers simply partially making good some of the police cuts that this Tory Government have made—that is all that has been claimed of this policy. They are not even restoring all the cuts that they have made since 2010. Effectively tackling crime is not just about funding the police properly, but about funding all those services, such as the youth service, education and the NHS, which help to bear down on crime. The Government do not intend to do that, and we on this side of the House believe that without a proper level of funding for the police force, for schools, for youth services and for the NHS, we will continue to see the negative consequences. There will be a spiral of violent crime, which causes so much fear in all our communities.