It’s no secret: crime rates in the UK have been rising.
Brutal knife and gun crimes have become a sad fixture of our headlines, while conviction rates for offences including violent robberies and sexual assaults have experienced an alarming decline.
Since 2015, the Conservatives have cut £1bn from police budgets while resolutely maintaining that falling policing numbers have nothing to do with rising crime.
But the stark truth is that our police officers are now spread so thinly that they simply can’t keep everyone safe. Officers are having to make devastating decisions about which incidents they can and can’t attend. As a result, the number and seriousness of incidents slipping through the net are on the rise.
We think that our police officers deserve better. And so do our communities.
It’s time to take action, but unlike Boris Johnson’s knee-jerk PR-friendly officer recruitment drive, a much more sustainable solution is required.
A solution that gives everyone in the community a voice. That recognises the link in cuts to mental health provision that now sees the police receive a call related to a mental health crisis every two minutes. A solution that works for everyone, from young people falling out of mainstream education to older people too scared to leave their homes.
This is why the Liberal Democrats have consistently pledged to increase funding for the police and other community services to both address the deeply rooted causes of crime and improve safety.
Today at our party conference, members adopted a new policy on crime and policing to reverse this stark trend. The motion commits us to:
- An expansion of community policing by providing enough funds for two more police officers in every ward in the UK
- Investment in mental health services so that people facing mental health crises can receive appropriate support from healthcare professionals
- Funding for better community services to give all young people new opportunities to reach their full potential, not become excluded from mainstream society
- Targeted investment in the National Crime Agency and in a new Online Crime Agency to ensure that our approach to tackling crime is fit for the twenty-first century
You can read the full motion here:
We can make the UK safer.
Not by slashing police budgets and pointing the blame at increasingly deprived communities, but by funding and supporting services that help break the cycle of crime and providing appropriate support for people in crisis. And by giving police enough resources to do what they do best. Fighting crime.