Thursday, July 22, 2004

New crime figures published by the Government today are evidence that Labour have failed to be ‘tough on crime’.   The figures released by the Home Office on 20 July show that in the last year, violent crime rose by 10% per cent in Norwich, whilst other kinds of crime fell.

No amount of statistical manipulation can conceal what everyone in Norwich already knows: Violent crime is soaring. The rise in violent crime is extremely worrying, and shows yet again that the Government is not making enough headway in tackling crime and disorder. These figures will come as no surprise to the millions of people up and down the country who suffer daily from crime, much of it drug related, and in our town centers increasingly alcohol-fuelled.

Whilst I support the hard work of the Norfolk Constabulary – who desrve congratulations for the overall fall in crime -  the problem is that the Government’s plethora of initiatives and vast bureaucracy are preventing the police from doing their job. Conservatives have a series of practical proposals to address Norwich’s crime crisis:

· An extra 40,000 police officers across England & Wales, with 457 allocated to Norfolk.
· 18,000 new hard drug rehabilitation places to give young hard drug-users a clear choice: intensive, residential rehabilitation or face the penal system.
· Directly elected police boards, with the Home Office’s current powers over local policing transferred to local people, accountable via the ballot box.
· Reversing the reclassification of cannabis from a Class B to a Class C drug, and engage in a proper war on drugs with the aim of creating a drug-free society.
· Resist Liberal Democrat plans to let burglars escape jail, abolish mandatory life sentences for serial rapists and weaken the laws further on hard drugs.”

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