Ed starts Blue Wall tour and calls for more community police officers

Ed Davey heads out on the road today. He’s doing a 25 stop tour of Blue Wall seats ahead of the local elections and starts in the Lib Dem stronghold of Three Rivers. The Council has been in Lib Dem hands for decades, but the parliamentary seats have so far eluded us.

His tour will take in Dominic Raab’s constituency of Esher and Walton, John Redwood’s seat in Wokingham, and other ultra marginal Blue Wall seats from Cheltenham to Cheadle.

Today in Three Rivers, Ed will  highlight shocking figures showing just 2% of local burglaries result in a suspect being charged. He will warn of a “silent epidemic” of crime sweeping across the country, accusing the Conservatives of going from the “party of law and order to the party of chaos and crisis.”

Analysis from our ace team of researchers  has shown that police forces across the Blue Wall have been disproportionately impacted by Conservative cuts, leaving them under-resourced, overstretched and unable to focus on tackling crime.

At the same time, Blue Wall communities are being hit hard by unsolved burglaries. Alongside Hertfordshire (2%), Gloucestershire (1%), Dorset (2%) and Hampshire (2%) have some of the lowest rates of burglaries resulting in a suspect being charged across the country.

Unsurprisingly, we  are calling for a return to proper community policing, where officers are visible, trusted and have the time and resources they need to focus on preventing and solving crime.

Ed said:

The Conservatives have gone from being the party of law and order to the party of chaos and crisis.

This government is allowing a silent epidemic of crime to sweep across the country, letting far too many criminals off the hook while millions of victims are denied justice.

Voters across the Blue Wall have had enough of broken promises from a Conservative Party that no longer represents them.

The Liberal Democrats will fight to restore effective community policing where officers are visible, trusted and focused on cutting crime. More and more people are turning to the Liberal Democrats because we work hard for our communities, we hear your concerns, and we never take you for granted.

According to our research, Blue Wall police forces are overwhelmingly set to miss the recruitment targets set under the Conservative’s key manifesto promise of delivering 20,000 extra police officers by next month. Wiltshire and Bedfordshire are amongst the furthest behind, which would respectively need a 830% and 475% recruitment increase to meet the targets.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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10 Comments

  • Mel Borthwaite 23rd Feb '23 - 7:52am

    Not fully comfortable with the Liberal Democrats attacking the Conservatives on their law and order record and calling for more police to fight crime. A liberal approach to preventing crime would call for more resources for youth centres and more attention to tackling the factors that lead to crime. I get it that we want to attract Conservative voters in blue wall seats, but speaking about an ‘epidemic of crime’ and criminals getting ‘off the hook’ is not the language or messaging I expect from the Liberal Democrats.

  • Chris Moore 23rd Feb '23 - 8:39am

    Are you in favour of less police?

  • Nonconformistradical 23rd Feb '23 - 9:09am

    @Mel Borthwaite
    I don’t know if you’ve ever suffered a break-in but…..
    (a) the likelihood of getting any attention from the police appears from media reports to be pretty low – to the extent that the property owner may only report the offence to police as the first step towards making an insurance claiim,

    (b) it is often suggested that the majority of burglaries are committed by a small number of habitual offenders – which suggests to me that more and much better police work is needed to identify and prosecute those repeat offenders.

    I agree that “more resources for youth centres and more attention to tackling the factors that lead to crime” are indeed needed. But they are more long-term remedies requiring long-term funding. They won’t deal with the immediate problem.

  • Mel Borthwaite 23rd Feb '23 - 11:44am

    @Chris Moore
    “Are you in favour of less police?”
    Strange question in response to my post stating that I was not comfortable with calls for more police – that does not mean that I want to see less police than we have at present. My point is that – as Liberal Democrats – we do not believe that more police and more prosecutions is the best way to reduce crime. Liberal Democrats believe that additional resources spent addressing the causes of crime may be a more effective way of addressing crime than trying to police the problem away.

  • Jason Connor 23rd Feb '23 - 2:05pm

    I don’t agree with Mel Borthwaite. As a council tenant I suffered several from years of ASB and on occasions felt intimidated. People under-estimate the effects of various types of crime on the victim including their mental health. On those occasions the only service that took an interest stepped up to the mark and supported myself and other neighbours was the Police, the Safer Neighbourhood Police to be precise. I live in London and they have been cut back by the government and previous mayor and current one who sanctioned the closure of police stations. We need more SNT police out there on the streets deterring crime and giving residents reassurance. This message does not just appeal to blue wall seats but also labour facing areas. The Connexions service did a great job in working with young people but much of their work was cut back during the coalition and has not been effectively replaced since. That service also needs to be replaced but is a separate issue from more effective community policing which helps reduce different types of crime affecting all sections of the community.

  • Martin Gray 23rd Feb '23 - 6:17pm

    Crime & violent crime hits those at the bottom the most ..From ASB to physical & sexual assault it’s the poorest who suffer disproportionately…Protecting those communities should be a priority, not the perpetrators.

  • George Thomas 23rd Feb '23 - 7:47pm

    13 years (plus) of cutting everything to the bone means that unless you’re going to invest a lot of time, human resources and money into everything, you’re going to have to make tough decisions about where resources are most effective.

    I can’t imagine Ed Davey moving away from liberal response to crime so I assume this is the opening move in order to try and get people listening to a Lib Dem response and believing that visible policing deters would be criminals in that moment so is effective spending of small part of budget.

    If they’re not deterred, then it’s likely that they’ll be waiting an awfully long time to be sentenced due to crumbling court structure, that the punishment will be ineffective and rehabilitation effort too due to this side of process crumbling, and they’ll come back out to world where they can’t get basics like affordable and fit-for-purpose housing so they’ll be tempted to do the crime again to try to improve their lot.

    Not to mention that there’s a need for more teachers to inspire people so they make better choices, that the only ones interested in deprived areas are the Home Office who want to use hotels for migrants (only a bad idea if that’s the only time you pay attention to deprived areas because it leads to bad feeling) or the army who are looking for people to be on the front line….

  • Chris Moore 24th Feb '23 - 8:26am

    So Mel, you don’t want less police and you don’t want more. You want exactly the number of police that there are now. You must have huge faith in the current government…..

    A little-known politician once said, “Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime.”

    This should be an accurate description of liberal policy on law and order. As other posters have pointed out, crime most effects the poorest off and reduces their liberty to pursue their lives in peace and safety.

    There does need to be more police and there does need to be more investment in social interventions. The two aren’t in conflict, Mel.

  • As someone who has suffered from ASB on numerous occasions I can concur with Jason Connor,s post on this subject, it is perceived by many to be a minor crime but the accumulation on a regular basis plays havoc with your mental health, of course we need more police with a visible presence if only for the reassurance that can bring.

  • If we are going to campaign effectively we need clear, simple national policies that can go on the back of a Focus leaflet. Just being critical is not enough.

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