Crisis in policing and crime is a crisis caused by political decision-making – Diane Abbott

01 Nov 2018
Random stop and search ineffective and poisons community relations, Shadow Home Secretary tells National Police Chiefs’ Council

Speaking at the National Police Chiefs’ Council and Association of Police and Crime Commissioners summit this morning, Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott MP has accused the government of creating a “crisis” in policing and crime that is a “crisis of policy, not of policing”.

Diane Abbott criticised the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond for failing to provide more funding for regular policing in Monday’s Budget:

“A rise in funding for Counter-Terrorism policing follows cuts made by the Coalition Government. All of this at a time when the terror threat has been rising.

“But there was nothing about all other types of policing. All that was promised was a review in December. There have been innumerable reviews, assessments and analyses. What the police need is more resources.

”Echoing warnings made by senior police chiefs about the impact of cuts on front-line policing in recent weeks, she said:

“There is barely a police chief in the country who hasn’t talked about the dreadful consequences of the cuts in their area. Or others who say they have to ration policing, and not respond to crimes at all. Or who say they are close to breaking-point.  Or who have publicly said that they will not be able to cope at all with any further cuts to policing”.

Responding to the Home Secretary’s promise to make it easier for police to stop and search people on the streets without a warrant, Diane Abbott said:

“The Home Secretary told you yesterday that he wanted to increase stop and search. This is despite research which shows that random stop and search is ineffective. That research comes from the Home Office. What does work is intelligence-led stop and search, and I am in favour of it in those circumstances. Then, it is effective. Otherwise it is ineffective and poisons community relations”.

The Shadow Home Secretary also warned Ministers that a lack of progress on security our policing arrangements after we leave the European Union puts the future security of the United Kingdom at risk:

“I was recently in Brussels to discuss our policing, security and justice arrangements after March 29 next year.  We have very little time left to agree and implement any new arrangements with the EU-27.  We will need an over-arching Security Treaty between the UK and the EU.

“When I spoke to the Commission and elected representatives and experts in Brussels, I really didn’t get the impression that the Government has done the work on this that is needed.

“We have real-time access to the Europol database which allows us to effectively monitor suspected terrorists, organised gangsters, people and drug traffickers and so on. But Europol is an EU institution. When we leave the EU, we will be outside it. Worse, there will be no legal basis to retain the data we have already accumulated. Unless new arrangements are in place, it will be illegal for our police forces to access or even retain this data.”

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