Labour calls for reversal of police cuts as MP insists crime reporting campaign will continue

PUBLISHED: 08:15 11 October 2018

Kemi Badenoch spent time with Essex Police earlier this year. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Kemi Badenoch spent time with Essex Police earlier this year. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

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Saffron Walden Labour Party is calling for a “complete reversal of Tory cuts in police staffing numbers” and an increase in police pay to tackle the “crime wave” in Uttlesford.

The party says MP Kemi Badenoch’s ‘Report It!’ campaign to encourage crime reporting to the police to secure more police resources has “failed due to her own party’s austerity measures”.

Based on freedom of information requests, Saffron Walden Labour Party found that the number of recorded crimes in Uttlesford in 2011 totalled 2,683, compared to 5,331 in 2017.

However, Essex Police confirmed that figures in 2015, 2016 and 2017 included crimes reported at Stansted Airport, unlike previous years, which affects the overall picture of crime in Uttlesford.

The figures without Stansted Airport reveal that 3,679 were crimes reported in 2017 - an increase from 2011, but in line with an overall increase in crime across the county.

Saffron Walden Labour Party said it was concerned about the apparent increase in crime and the number of officers being cut from the force.

“Ram raids are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the effects of Tory cuts on policing in our area,” said Simon Trimnell, spokesman for Saffron Walden Labour Party. “The police are already over-stretched and will now be under pressure to catch these criminals, who are taking advantage of an under-policed affluent area. This will divert resources from other crimes, such as house burglaries.

“No one is saying crimes would not happen under another government, but Kemi Badenoch should admit that Uttlesford’s lower level of policing due to Tory cuts has coincided with a rise in crime. She should also admit her ‘Report It!’ campaign launched last year for a larger slice of resources has failed because cuts have reduced the amount available.

“We want to return to the numbers of police we had before the Tories came to power in 2010. We need to give them a pay rise and decent pensions that reward long service to help keep them in the force, build skills and reduce crime.”

Mrs Badenoch said the Saffron Walden Labour Party is ‘playing politics with our police’ and said she will continue to promote her reporting campaign to raise awareness that reporting crime ensures Saffron Walden gets its available share of police resourcing.

“[Labour] has deliberately left out the 25 police officers in the operational support group which is frequently deployed to Uttlesford for operational activities such as the raid I accompanied them on earlier this year,” Mrs Badenoch said.

“We must never forget how Labour’s reckless borrowing crashed our economy and led to the very cuts they complain of today.

“The Conservatives are still cleaning up the mess they made and I am glad that the prime minister in her speech at conference announced that austerity will soon be coming to an end.

“I have seen the extraordinary efforts of the police in our local area since I was elected, and I very much welcome the Government’s decision to award police officers a pay award worth a total of two per cent.

“There is still more to be done and I will continue to lobby the Government to put more resources into rural crime and policing as I did successfully last year.”

The figures obtained by the party reveal a rise in the number of crimes recorded across Essex - in 2011, there were 105,508 crimes recorded, compared to 128,293 in 2017.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “Crime is increasing across the country and while Essex is no different to that recent trend, Uttlesford remains a safe district in a safe county.

“Officers and staff based in the policing district and countywide work hard every day to keep Uttlesford safe and nine more officers will add to those local teams next year.

“Teams working to combat serious and organised crime, crime on our roads, violent drug gangs, domestic violence and serial burglars work countywide including in Uttlesford in addition to local officers.”

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