Last week the Gazette reported that violent crime on Teesside has risen more than 70% compared to nine years ago and by 12% compared to last year. The same report stated that over the same period, almost 500 Cleveland Police posts have been lost – a fall from 1,721 in 2009 to 1,274 in 2018.
Meanwhile, the Home Secretary has insisted that savage police cuts have not had a significant impact on the rise of violent crime. By continuing to claim that police forces across the UK have the resources and the manpower required to tackle the increasing violence on our streets, the government is literally attempting (and failing) to defend the indefensible.
Preventing and reversing such a significant rise in violent crime would be a tough task for any police force at the best of times, even with the full backing of our political leaders. I am afraid that I must admit to having deep concerns regarding whether it is even fair to expect an already overstretched, underfunded Cleveland Police force to be capable of tackling this issue – especially while Cabinet Ministers continue to bury their heads in the sand and attempt to pretend that the issue simply doesn’t even exist.
The Home Secretary and this Conservative government must abandon their pathetic attempt at spin, be honest with the British public and give our police the resources and manpower that they need to keep our streets safe.
Jonathan Arnott MEP