18 April 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Police taking up to 17 and a half hours to respond to anti-social behaviour calls
  • Thames Water: This corporate clown show must end
  • “Flushed away”- Welsh Lib Dems urge Welsh Government to support maintenance of public toilets
  • Scot Lib Dems respond to SNP and Greens ditching climate change targets
  • Khan manifesto launch
  • Cole-Hamilton speaks after more days of turmoil for Humza Yousaf

Police taking up to 17 and a half hours to respond to anti-social behaviour calls

Average police response times to anti-social behaviour incidents have increased by 37% since 2021, with some forces taking an average of 17 and a half hours to arrive at the scene, shocking new figures uncovered by the Liberal Democrats have revealed.

The figures were obtained through a series of Freedom of Information requests to all police forces in England. 27 forces provided full responses.

In 2023, it took an average of 3 hours and 40 minutes across police forces for an officer to turn up to the scene of anti-social behaviour incidents. This is an increase of 34% compared to average wait times across police forces in 2021, which stood at 2 hours and 44 minutes.

The figures revealed a disturbing postcode lottery, with huge differences in average response times between police forces.

Suffolk had the longest wait times in England last year, with police taking an average of 17 and a half hours to attend anti-social behaviour reports, followed closely behind by Norfolk where wait times were 17 hours and 29 minutes. Cambridgeshire also had extremely long wait times, which stood at 11 and a half hours.

Meanwhile, anti-social behaviour calls in Essex were attended to in less than 8 minutes on average.

In recent years, some forces also experienced huge deteriorations in wait times. In Surrey, where Lib Dem Leader Ed Davey will be making a campaigning visit today, wait times have increased by 281% since 2021, up to nearly 5 and a half hours.

London wait times have more than tripled in that same time period, up a staggering 353%.

The shocking figures come just months after the Crime Survey for England and Wales found that in the year ending September 2023, more than one third of people had experienced or witnessed some type of anti-social behaviour, with the police recording 1 million incidents.

The Liberal Democrats have slammed the Conservative Government for these figures, arguing that years of ineffective resourcing have left local police forces overstretched, under-resourced and unable to effectively respond to local crime. This includes taking more than 4,500 community officers (PCSOs) off the streets since 2015.

The party is calling for a return to proper community policing, where officers are visible and trusted, with the time and resources to focus on tackling neighbourhood crime like anti-social behaviour.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

For its victims, anti-social behaviour can be relentless, overwhelming and deeply distressing. Being left to wait hours, wondering if a police officer will turn up and help, only adds to that stress.

Nobody should be afraid to walk down their own street. But this is the consequence of years of ineffective resourcing from the Conservatives and a diminished frontline police presence.

The British people deserve to feel confident that if they do fall victim to crime, the police will turn up swiftly. That’s why it’s time to finally restore proper community policing, with officers focused on their local neighbourhoods.

Thames Water: This corporate clown show must end

Responding to reported plans for Thames Water’s collapse, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson and Richmond Park MP, Sarah Olney said:

Millions of households and taxpayers deserve to know Thames Water’s fate. This corporate clown show must end now.

The secret plans must be published immediately. Thames Water should have been put into Special Administration long ago, but the government is too weak to take on this disgraced polluter.

“Flushed away”- Welsh Lib Dems urge Welsh Government to support maintenance of public toilets

This week in the Senedd, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have called on the Welsh Government to assist community groups and local councils in the operating and maintaining of essential public facilities.

According to the Old People’s Commissioner, concerns over toilet access can act as a “loo leash”. Discouraging people, such as those with health conditions, from leaving their homes.

Speaking to the Siambr, party leader Jane Dodds MS used the example of Rhayader town council who, after taking over the operation of public toilets along the A44 and A470 in 2015, have been struggling to keep up with financing these amenities due to a lack of funding support.

The Welsh Lib Dems have highlighted the importance of public toilets, both for the millions of tourists that visit Wales each year but also for the local population.

Commenting, the Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds MS said:

The pressure placed on our small communities to maintain access to these basic amenities is immense, towns and villages consisting of a few thousand are being asked to fund facilities used by millions each year.

The reality is public toilets are essential pieces of infrastructure, not simply for the millions of tourists that visit Wales, but also for the local population.

The right to accessing decent standard toilets is a basic human right, and for many people living with certain health conditions this can be the difference between living their lives freely or being locked in their homes.

We call on the Welsh government to step in and support local councils and community groups in the operating and maintenance of public toilets, to ensure that the people of Wales have access to these much-needed facilities.

Scot Lib Dems respond to SNP and Greens ditching climate change targets

Responding to the SNP and Greens ditching Scotland’s climate change targets, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:

This is a generational betrayal from the SNP and the Scottish Greens and a cynical attempt to dodge bad press by simply abolishing the climate change targets that they have repeatedly missed.

For years we have had to endure smug lectures from nationalist ministers about how Scotland was a world leader on climate change. But when it came to doing the actual hard graft of insulating homes, planting trees or cutting emissions, they have proven to be woefully incompetent.

If the government had got on with tackling these issues years ago, the 75% target would have been achievable. Instead they traded environmentalism for nationalism.

It’s bare faced cheek to blame others while botching recycling schemes, hiking rail fares and leaving households in the cold.

Khan manifesto launch

Commenting on Sadiq Khan’s manifesto launch, Liberal Democrat London mayoral candidate Rob Blackie said:

The Mayor is running away from his record after eight years in office.

Under Sadiq Khan, the police are catching rapists and sexual offenders half as often as they did when he became Mayor in 2016. This is a scandal. But in this week’s ITV debate the Mayor would not even say that he is sorry for this.

The Mayor’s manifesto does not promise to catch significantly more sexual offenders. It doesn’t even promise to make the police substantially better at catching these criminals, who can offend again and again.

Cole-Hamilton speaks after more days of turmoil for Humza Yousaf

Speaking after more days of turmoil for Humza Yousaf, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:

Whether it’s ditching key climate targets, A&E waits spiralling or doctors hitting out at the government spin on shortages, this SNP government is lurching from crisis to crisis.

It just gets worse and worse for Humza Yousaf. It’s time for a change.

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This entry was posted in London, News, Press releases, Scotland and Wales.
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