Rochdale MP, Tony Lloyd, has revealed Labour’s pledge for a crackdown on community crime with new police hubs in every local area, as new analysis from the party has shown that a staggering 1.2 million incidents of nuisance are recorded in England and Wales every year – equating to over 20,000 incidents every single week.
Tony said: “Communities in Rochdale are being badly let down by the Tories. Total crime is going up, yet prosecutions are going down. Criminals are being let off and at the end of the day, it is the victims who are being badly let down.
“That has to change. Labour’s plans for new Police Hubs will bring neighbourhood prevention teams back out into our communities. We need to see police back on our streets working in communities to keep people safe.”
Labour is turning up the attack on the Home Office’s woeful record on reducing crime and punishing criminals, as polling shows the party is 9 points ahead on tackling crime. The Home Office’s own internal polling shows that ‘only around a third (35%) say they have confidence in the government’s handling of crime and justice’. Overall crime has gone up by 14%, while prosecutions have fallen.
In England and Wales the percentage of people who say they never see a police officer has almost doubled since the Conservatives came to power from 25% in April 2010 to March 2011 to 48% in April 2019 to March 2020. Meanwhile, the proportion of people agreeing that the local crime and ASB issues that matter are being dealt with has fallen from 61% in 2012 to just 52% in 2020.
Labour has accused the Conservatives of abandoning local communities such as Rochdale and showing no leadership on anti-social behaviour for a decade even while Freedom of Information Requests to local councils and police forces show big increases in antisocial behaviour reports during the pandemic, and Labour’s internal research finds it is one of the most common issues raised on the doorstep alongside the cost of living.
Labour is calling on the Government to halt plans for a Royal Yacht, which is being funded by taxpayers’ money, that the Royal Family do not want and would bring no advantage to the Navy, and to use the money saved to guarantee local Police Hubs in towns and communities across the country instead. That investment could start funding a new police hub in hundreds of local neighbourhoods next year.
Labour’s police hubs will bring together a Neighbourhood Prevention Team made up of police, community support officers, local authority staff and youth workers to tackle anti-social behaviour at source.
These teams would prioritise being visible on patrols, being easily accessible for local residents and would pursue serial perpetrators of ASB or low-level crime, as well as dealing with visible signs of disorder such as broken windows, graffiti, fly-tipping, or drug dealing. These teams will also support victims of anti-social behaviour. Labour councils such as Redbridge are already working in partnership with local police to introduce local hubs.
Labour’s analysis found that the Government failed to stop noisy neighbours from blighting homes across the country during the coronavirus pandemic, with one study finding that noise complaints increased by almost 50% during the Spring 2020 lockdown. And Labour FOI data shows that the majority of forces and many local councils saw a big increase in anti social behaviour reports during the Covid crisis including an increase of 69% in the Met and 26% in Greater Manchester.
Some 1.2 million nuisance incidents were recorded in the year ending September 2021, equating to 23,759 incidents every week, and over 3,300 every single day. When expanded to cover personal and environmental ASB such as drug paraphernalia, over 1.6 million incidents of antisocial behaviour were recorded over the last year – over 200,000 higher than pre-pandemic levels.
Very little data is published on the use of enforcement powers by police and local authorities, to crack down on noisy neighbours. Yet research from BBC Panorama found that enforcement agencies are failing to use the powers open to them, with 37 local authorities never having used the “Community Trigger” process open to victims to force agencies to act. Labour believes that there has been a serious and growing failure under the Tories to use antisocial behaviour powers to keep communities such as Rochdale safe, despite being in charge for 12 years.
In September 2020 the Home Secretary wrote to the Victims Commissioner to express her concern about “the serious impact that persistent anti-social behaviour can have on both individuals and communities”. Yet there have been no specific reforms since that point.
Labour’s plan includes:
- New Police Hubs in crime and antisocial behaviour hotspots across the country to get the police back out into the community
- Neighbourhood Prevention Teams bringing together police and local councils and youth services to tackle antisocial behaviour that is blighting communities
- Stronger powers for police and local councils to shut down drug dens, and to keep them closed for longer
- A major recruitment drive to increase the number of special constables
- Giving victims of persistent antisocial behaviour the same entitlements including access to support services as other victims of crime
Notes to editors:
- Nuisance antisocial behaviour is defined by the police as “when a person causes trouble, annoyance or suffering to a community.” According to the latest estimates, 75% of anti-social behaviour incidents recorded were classes as ‘nuisance’ – equating to 1.2 million incidents – https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/datasets/crimeinenglandandwalesotherrelatedtables
- Noise complaints increased by almost 50% during the Spring 2020 lockdown https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0048969721022841
- According to the latest statistics, total crime is up 14% on the year before – https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/bulletins/crimeinenglandandwales/yearendingseptember2021
- Data on public perceptions of local policing visibility shows long-term rises in the proportion of the public never seeing a local police officer – https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/datasets/crimeinenglandandwalesannualsupplementarytables
- Freedom of Information requests from the Labour Party show that despite differences in data recording, 22 out of 26 responding police forces reported rises in anti-social behaviour measures between 2019 and 2020, including a rise from 258,040 to 436,510 in the Metropolitan Police and 82,308 to 103,471 in Greater Manchester
- In September 2020 the Home Secretary wrote to the Victims Commissioner to express her concern about “the serious impact that persistent anti-social behaviour can have on both individuals and communities”. https://victimscommissioner.org.uk/document/letter-from-home-secretary-on-anti-social-behaviour-during-covid/
- FOI requests from BBC Panorama found that the ‘community trigger’ process designed to help victims of antisocial behaviour get justice has never been used by at least 37 local authorities across the country – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-60102528
- Internal Tory polling on crime & antisocial behaviour is highlighted here: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/apr/04/uk-public-do-not-believe-government-will-tackle-crime-documents-show
- Policing surveys have found antisocial behaviour is one of the public’s top concerns https://www.kent-pcc.gov.uk/SysSiteAssets/media/downloads/previous-consultations/annual-policing-survey-2020.pdf
- The Royal Yacht has been branded as bringing ‘no advantage’ to the Navy by the Defence Select Committee – https://www.forces.net/news/royal-navy-need-build-more-warships-mps-say
- Labour have pledged police hubs in every local area to support victims and tackle local crime and anti-social behaviour: https://labour.org.uk/press/labour-to-restore-neighbourhood-policing-to-fight-epidemic-of-anti-social-behaviour-under-the-conservatives/