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Labour say they will boost Sussex Police’s gang unit to tackle surge in violence

The party says that Sussex Police will be given the extra staff to tackle its high rates of gang related violent crime.

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In April last year, 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.

The party says their approach of treating violence as a public health crisis has been reported for reducing violent crimes by around 40% over the last decade and murders reduced to their lowest level since 1976.

They say that 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 where these schemes will develop and trial best practice in reducing re-offending.

They say that re-offending costs are estimated at £18bn per year with re-offending rates at 65% for those released following a short prison sentence.

 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.”

Henry Smith

Henry Smith MP: Armed Forces Day 2020

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This year, Armed Forces Day falls on Saturday 27th June, with the Armed Forces Day flag being raised the previous Monday across the nation, including at Crawley Town Hall.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the role of the armed forces at home as well as abroad.

Around the country there are more than 100 mobile testing units which are operated by the armed forces. These provide testing where it is needed, enabling key workers and their households to be tested, with results within 48 hours.

I am particularly grateful to the 7 Rifles Reservist soldiers, who are based at Gatwick Airport and operate testing units around West Sussex. Our town appreciates your work, and the part you are playing in ensuring life can return to a semblance of normality.

It is important, however, that we show our gratitude not only on Armed Forces Day, but all year round.

One of the freedoms which our armed forces stand for is the freedom of protest. This does not, it should be said, extend to having permission to vandalise memorials to the fallen.

I am supporting the Desecration of War Memorials Bill which not only designates a specific offence relating to unlawful damage to a war memorial, but would also see an exemption of damage to war memorials from the existing £5,000 damages threshold, see a maximum fine replaced with an unlimited fine, as well as a maximum custodial sentence of 10 years.

It would, of course, be up to the judiciary to decide on sentences for each individual case. This Bill would remove some of the barriers to ensuring justice in such a scenario.

Henry Smith MP
Crawley Constituency

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