After years of reduction in traditional crime, we have seen an increase across the UK since 2015, particularly in violent crime. Even where crime levels are low, fear and perception of crime can often undermine this reality.

At the same time, police forces are under pressure from reduced funding, with less money available for the community policing we value. They also face an increasing level of cybercrime, which again draws on resources

Fact: The extra funding announced by the Conservatives is not nearly enough. Boris Johnson has announced that he will hire an extra 20,000 police officers by 2022 at a cost – he says – of £1.1bn. There are currently just over 123,000 police offers – down from 143,000 in 2010 when the Tories came to power. So this will simply put police numbers back to where they were nine years ago.

He also announced £2.5bn funding to create 10,000 new prison places – a promise already made in 2015 to be delivered by 2020. Having failed in this he has resurrected the promise and the funding but with a date of “the mid-2020s”.

Brexit will inevitably lead to a downturn in the economy, which research shows is usually a contributing factor for an increase in crime. Our law enforcement agencies will also have more work to do in order to access international databases and apply for international arrest warrants

What does this mean for Stevenage?

Crime and anti-social behaviour (ASB) are not as high in Stevenage as in some other parts of the country, but we understand that fear can impact on people’s feeling of safety.

Fact: Knife crime is increasing. In March 2019 The Comet reported that the number of knife offences recorded in Hertfordshire had more than doubled in the last four years, and in a 12-month period through to September 2018 almost one-third of these offences were committed by children – the highest percentage in the country.

It is difficult to get police numbers for Stevenage Constituency but, according to the Royston Crow, in August 2019 the total number of police officers for Hertfordshire overall exceeded 2,000 for the first time since 2011, funded by additional Council Tax rather than Government funding,

Lisa Nash says: I believe that if we give people a stake in society through decent housing and education, we will reduce crime. I am concerned that Brexit might lead to an increase in crime in our constituency and about the extra workload for our Police Officers in accessing international co-operation.

What will the Liberal Democrats do about crime?

The Liberal Democrats will

  • Increase community policing by giving local police forces the fair funding they need

  • Secure further funding for criminal legal aid from sources other than taxpayers

  • Ensure equitable access to justice and more support for victims

  • Reform our sentencing and prisons to reduce reoffending and ensure that we address the causes of crime

To read more about the Liberal Democrats’ policies on Crime and Justice go to https://www.libdems.org.uk/rights

What can you do?

If you elect Lisa Nash as your MP she will fight to get the investment in police and justice, as well as the changes in education and housing, that are required to reduce crime in our Constituency. Help us to deliver better for Stevenage by voting for Lisa in the General Election.

Published by Stephen Booth on behalf of Lisa Nash and the Liberal Democrats, all at 2B North Road, Stevenage SG1 4AT