Sunday, 22 July 2007

A shocking increase in violent crime

I have taken time out this morning to look through the latest crime statistics, released by the Home Office last week, and was horrified to learn that there has been an increase in violent crime, sexual offences and burglary in both Medway and Tonbridge & Malling.

In Medway, violent crime rose by 4% last year with the total number of incidents recorded standing at 5,536. Tonbridge & Malling saw a 2% increase in violent crime but a massive 24% increase in sexual offences. Kent as a whole saw a 3% increase in violent crime, much of which is related to the relaxation of licensing laws increasing the likelihood of violent behaviour in our town centres late at night.

These new figures continue to highlight the Government's failure to tackle crime and protect the public. They refused to listen to opposition on the changes to licensing laws, including Conservative calls to pilot the scheme and assess the consequences before implementing blanket changes.

What is most frustrating about these latest figures is that our police are working incredibly hard to combat crime but are constrained by red tape imposed upon them from Whitehall tying them to their desks rather than out on the streets. Furthermore, even when the police do catch them our prisons are so full that many offenders are not being either punished or rehabilitated properly thus seeing them back on the streets ready, and willing, to commit more crimes.

It is time for some proper action on crime. We need more prison places; more, and better, rehabilitation; a better anti-drugs strategy aided by a border police force; and a police force able to get on with doing their jobs rather than sat behind their desks filling out forms. I am under absolutely no doubt that this is what a Conservative Government would deliver.

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