Vera Baird

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Baird on crime increases: Urges Home Secretary – Listen to former Scotland Yard Commissioner, Ian Blair

9th April 2018

Dame Vera Baird QC, Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria has given her support to former Scotland Yard Chief, Ian Blair,  who has said that the undermining of intelligence-led neighbourhood policing, with not enough officers “visible on the street” has impacted in London, Dame Vera believes this statement is valid in communities right across England and Wales.

The Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, will be unveiling a Serious Violence Task Force and a new law. Mrs Rudd does not believe the current situation is due to there not being enough police officers on the street.

Dame Vera said “New laws don’t replace the officers needed to enforce them. The Home Secretary cant prosecute her way out of this appalling violent crime spike in London nor with other crime increases elsewhere. Deep cuts to police number does affect safety – simple as that. Neighbourhood policing was put in place as the bedrock of preventive policing, producing intelligence capable of triggering early intervention to head off criminality. Due to funding cuts, officers are stretched as never before and are unable to focus as much on neighbourhood policing, which in turn reduces intelligence and thwarts prevention”

Northumbria’s Commissioner, Dame Vera added “In our force cuts have meant we have lost over 900 police officers since 2010, even though I have spent our reserves down to the very tightest safe minimum to keep officers on the beat, but with ever decreasing government funding, like this year yet again, this can’t continue”.

In Northumbria, crime has gone up. At Dame Vera’s request, the Assistant Chief Constable has sent Northumbria’s rising crime figures to the Home Secretary so she is in no doubt that though London is suffering most, there are not only higher crime figures, nationwide, through better police recording practices and an increase in confidence bringing more reports of sex and domestic violence offences but an actual rise in crime. Total crime in Northumbria is up by 109%. 

Dame Vera added “The Home Secretary says that there was an increases in violent crime in the early 2000s when police numbers were higher and so those numbers are irrelevant.  Who knows how high that spike would have gone if there were as few cops then as there are now? 

Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner has called in 300 extra police a day to patrol London presumably from leave, on overtime and from other duties. The Home Secretary presumably thinks the most senior police officer in our country is misguided to think that will help.

To tackle rising crime, government needs to restore proper funding for neighbourhood police, for youth services, YOTs and probation; to bring back EMAs so poorer youngsters can go to college.  Tackle poverty caused by high housing costs, unemployment and zero hours jobs and to stop slashing in-work benefits. People need hope and opportunities and meanwhile unemployment in the North East alone is now 59000 up 5000 in a year”.