At the launch of Labour’s London local election campaign on Monday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will be joined by Labour’s London Mayor Sadiq Khan in branding the Conservative record on policing and crime as one of reckless failure.
After the string of recent violent incidents in London, the Labour leader and London Mayor will pull no punches about the impact savage Tory cuts to policing budgets have had.
England and Wales now have 21,000 fewer police officers.
Corbyn will announce that he has called a roundtable meeting in London on Tuesday of police officers, victims of violent crime and experts working to halt the rise in knife and gun crime, to help strengthen Labour’s approach to dealing with the increase in violent crime.
Ahead of the local elections on 3 May, Corbyn and Khan will also address other critical problems affecting Londoners – including the housing crisis, insecure work and low wages – and will highlight the work of Labour councils in London already leading the way on tackling these issues.
Corbyn will say:
On the recent violence in the capital
We meet here today in the shadow of one of the most violent periods we have experienced in recent times – not just here in London but across our country.
Young people with their lives ahead of them are being ripped from our communities. Too many families are facing the loss of a child they have nurtured in their early years – never to see the potential of that love and support realised.
As political leaders we must act. We have to tackle full on the reasons so many of our young people are having their lives extinguished.
Tomorrow I will be meeting with those who on the front line of violent crime. I will be meeting police officers, families who have lost children and organisations working to end the curse of knife and gun crime.
I want to hear what they have to say. Labour will listen to experts whose first hand experience of working on the front line will help frame our approach to dealing with the sharp rise in violent crime.
We must also hold the Government to account. Over the last 8 years the Conservative Government has decimated local services, the core services that are an essential part of holding our communities together.
You simply cannot maintain community cohesion when you slash funding to the police service and cut the number of officers on our streets by 21,000.
You cannot protect local communities when you cut funding to local councils to such an extent they are unable to provide the essential youth service support that stops many young people from being drawn into violent crime.
The Tory record on policing and crime is one of reckless failure. Plain and simple – you can’t have security on the cheap and cuts have consequences. Too many communities are living with those consequences.
On the Grenfell tower fire:
Londoners came together in sorrow and in solidarity in the aftermath of the terrible Grenfell tower fire which took 72 lives.
Who could not have been moved by the outpouring of support? People offering clothes, food, money, accommodation and love to people who had lost everything and who had been let down by their council and by the government.
Grenfell told us something else about London, something we see starkly every day. We may be united but we are deeply unequal.
That fire simply would not have happened if the occupants had been wealthy. That is the brutal but inescapable truth.
And even now the inquiry is failing to learn the lessons of Hillsborough by ensuring the bereaved families have full access to the information they need and that the council and Government give them the answers they deserve.
What all Londoners need to know is that they will be safe in their homes.
Straight after Grenfell it was Croydon Council that committed to installing sprinklers in all high-rise tower blocks and Camden removed dangerous cladding from its buildings and is investing £80 million to improve fire safety in its tower blocks.
Khan will say:
May 3rd will be a chance for Londoners to give their verdict on the Tories’ extreme Hard Brexit – and their failure to build the genuinely affordable homes to buy and rent that Londoners desperately need. It will also be a chance to send a message to the Government that their cuts have gone too far, for too long and are putting the safety of our city at risk.
The recent violence we have seen on our streets is as heart-breaking and tragic as it is appalling. The Met Police work incredibly hard but they are worryingly overstretched and woefully under-resourced. At the same time Ministers continue to slash budgets for mental health services, schools, youth services and probation – services we need to help young people turn away from a life of crime.
We need to invest in our police and in our communities. It’s the same old story under the Tories: police officer numbers down and crime is up.
Vote Labour on the 3rd of May to send the Government a clear message – on Brexit and on the devastating Tory cuts. We need Labour councils in London so they can work for the many, not the few.
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