On yesterday’s Platform, Mark Reckless called for a democratisation and localisation of policing ahead of the publication of the Government’s Green Paper on policing. Below are highlights of Shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve’s response to Jacqui Smith’s statement to the House.
The police are less effective today because of red tape: "Recorded violent crime has virtually doubled in 10 years. Police numbers are up by 10 per cent., and detection rates for violent offences are down by a quarter… Does the Home Secretary accept Sir Ronnie Flanagan’s surgical dissection of serial ministerial failures which revealed “perverse incentives”, a “raft” of targets and officers “straitjacketed by process”? We also know what is needed to free up the police: less red tape, fewer targets and greater local accountability of police to the communities that they serve."
Jacqui Smith has stolen Tory ideas: "The Green Paper offers some constructive ideas, but I have to say that virtually all of them originate from this side of the House. Take the Conservative crime mapping proposals; they were announced in April and are already being implemented by a Conservative Mayor of London—months later, they have been pinched by the Home Secretary for her policing pledge. Take her piloting of the abolition of the stop and account form. That is a greatly watered-down version of the nationwide overhaul that we proposed in February to free up nearly 1 million police hours to get officers back on the street. Why not scrap them altogether, as we propose? There is also the promise to review the onerous bureaucratic burden that the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 places on the most basic investigations. That is a straight lift from Conservative party policy."
Labour has failed on crime and police reform: "The truth is that this exhausted Government can offer neither the inspiration nor the perspiration to deliver the serious and sustained reform that the police so badly need. In the meantime, there is a gun crime every hour, there are five fatal stabbings every week, and we still do not have any proper Government information on violence against under-16-year-olds, although the information has been demanded by Members on both sides of the House for years. In conclusion, does the Home Secretary agree that the 22,151 serious offences involving knives, for which we for the first time have a figure, is a pretty damning indictment of a Government who seem consistently more interested in chasing headlines than chasing the perpetrators of crime?"