Labour pushes for 13,000 more neighbourhood police officers

Labour will push the government for an increase to the number of neighbourhood police officers on Tuesday, saying communities are facing 3,000 incidents of anti-social behaviour a day.

In an opposition day debate in the Commons, the party will point to the latest crime statistics from the ONS, which showed 1.1 million incidents of anti-social behaviour had been reported to the police in the year leading up to September 2022.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper will accuse the government of failing to invest in neighbourhood policing teams, saying it has “left communities to fight crime and anti-social behaviour on their own”.

And she will call on ministers to increase local police numbers, including ringfencing a proportion of the Police Uplift Programme – the government plan to recruit 20,000 more officers by March – for neighbourhood teams.

The latest update from the Home Office shows 15,343 have been recruited so far, with two months to go to reach the target.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has previously pledged the new officers would “add to efforts to drive down invasive crimes like burglary and neighbourhood offences, return to common sense policing and make our communities feel safer and stronger”.

And the Home Office said £120m had been spent on initiatives such as improving street lighting and home security to cut neighbourhood crime as part of its Safer Streets Fund.

But according to Labour, 6,000 neighbourhood police officers have been cut since 2015, and the number of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) dropped by more than 8,500 since 2010.

Meanwhile, crime figures show the overall charge rate for crime is 5.5% compared to 15.5% in 2015.

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‘People just don’t see police on their streets anymore’

Ms Cooper will say: “This Conservative government has decimated neighbourhood policing. Across the country, people just don’t see police on their streets anymore, and feel less and less safe as a result.

“Meanwhile, for millions of people anti-social behaviour has become part of day-to-day life, ruining lives without consequence.”

The shadow home secretary will also outline Labour’s plans for government – namely a £360m package of 13,000 additional neighbourhood officers and PCSOs paid for through a “police efficiency programme” to increase shared services and procurement.

“Labour is the party of law and order,” she will add. “The next Labour government will put policing back where it belongs, at the heart of communities.”

The Home Office has been approached for comment.

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