Diane Abbott, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary and Richard Burgon, Shadow Justice Secretary, have announced plans to expand Sussex Police’s Violence Reduction Unit. Sussex Police, which has seen a 76% rise in violent crime since 2014/5, will be given the extra staff to tackle its high rates of gang related violent crime.
In April 2018, Labour announced its support for Violence Reduction Units modelled on the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) in Glasgow, which is responsible for implementing the successful crime reduction initiative. Their approach of treating violence as a public health crisis has been widely credited for reducing violent crimes by around 40% over the last decade and murders reduced to their lowest level since 1976.
The expansion of Violence Reduction Units will be complemented by investment to tackle reoffending rates. Labour will fund innovative crime-busting pilot schemes with a £20m annual Justice Innovation Fund for Police and Crime Commissioners and local criminal justice boards. These schemes will develop and trial best practice in reducing re-offending.
Re-offending costs are estimated at £18bn per year with re-offending rates at 65% for those released following a short prison sentence.
Labour’s manifesto also commits to match in full the additional government resources announced for policing, after the Tories took 21,000 police off our streets.
Peter Lamb, Council Leader and Labour’s candidate in Crawley, said: “We’ve all seen the impact of the Conservatives’ cuts in unleashing a wave of crime and antisocial behaviour in Crawley’s town centre and neighbourhoods.
“The Conservatives and the Lib Dems have spent a decade supporting brutal cuts to Sussex Police. There’s no way we can trust them to support our police officers in the future. It’s only by getting real officers back on the beat that we can tackle the problems residents are raising daily in our town.
Richard Burgon, Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary, said: “Under the Tories reoffending rates are far too high, meaning more victims of crimes and less safe communities. Labour will prioritise reducing the number of victims of crime and tackling the huge social and economic costs of offending.
“Our Criminal Justice Innovation Fund will help local experts invest in schemes that work best to tackle reoffending in their areas.”