Crime Increase – Outcome of Conservative Political Failure
This time last year I warned that cutting police funding at a time when the country was about to go into a double-dip recession would lead to an increase in crime across Northampton.
It was a warning that the Northampton Conservatives, at both County and Borough levels, not only ignored but blithely dismissed. In fact the Leader of the Borough Council defended the cuts, which he implemented at both Councils, as justified because;
“the Council have no responsibility for fighting or crime prevention. It is the responsibility of the police”
Now of course it is the responsibility of the police to identify perpetrators, arrest them and then put them into the criminal justice system. But for Conservatives to say that they have no responsibility, as a justification for cutting funding, is not only ridiculous but shows just how out of touch with the real world they are.
I have been consistent in arguing that at a time of recession when, as history shows, crime increases you should invest in protecting communities. And to little surprise, I have faced criticism from the Conservatives for being ‘alarmist’.
Well it may come as a surprise to those critics, but not to thousands of victims and friends of victims in Northampton, that the evidence clearly shows an increase in crime across all categories in the six month period June to November 2012 when compared to the six months December 2011 to May 2012.
Just to be clear what the categories are; Anti-Social Behaviour Up 4.52%, Burglary Up 1.22%, Robbery Up 7.14%, Vehicle Crime Up 14.72% and Violent Crime Up 1%.
Percentages don’t mean a great deal to most people but to the victims, every crime has a 100% impact on their lives and the lives of their concerned families. So they deserve to be taken seriously and not treated as just another table of numbers in a report.
The increase in crime in the final six months of 2012, which Northampton Conservatives argue has not been influenced by their cuts agenda, has seen 6842 victims of Anti-Social Behaviour, 1279 victims of Burglary, 195 victims of Robbery, 1238 victims of Vehicle Crime and over 2000 victims of Violence.
The Conservatives, ever mindful of putting PR and Spin before the facts, argue and claim that crime is falling, when in Northampton it clearly isn’t.
When this was pointed out to the Leader of the Borough Council at a recent meeting his response was “provide the evidence”.
Which is an odd position considering that, as a member of the Northampton Community Safety Partnership Board, he should at least have looked at the Northamptonshire Police Crime Breakdown Data.
Or maybe, as it’s ‘not his responsibility’, he just doesn’t bother?
What the increase should not be blamed on is the police who have to operate with ever reducing resources and dwindling budgets. A result of both the Conservative – Lib Dem Government cuts and the Northampton Borough and County Conservative cuts from April 2012’s budget.
With the looming prospect of Coalition cuts driving the economy into a triple dip recession, Northampton Conservative cuts driving thousands of residents below the poverty line, is it perhaps time for the Northampton Conservatives to accept that they’ve got it wrong?
That perhaps instead of empty positive soundbites, taken from an undoubtedly well-structured message calendar, it is concrete positive action that is required.
A start would be to reinstate the funding for PCSO’s they cut last year.
Or will they as usual look for someone else to blame?
Northampton Labour, unlike the Conservatives, will not abandon Northampton’s communities and will continue to fight for the funding that the police and people deserve to prevent crime.
Northampton Labour is committed to crime prevention and it is time for the Conservatives to recognise that they have a duty to provide the funding needed to prevent the next Victim.
Sadly in their arrogance I suspect they won’t listen and the number of victims of crime in the current period may well continue to increase.