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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: Kickstarting the recovery

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As the challenges of COVID-19 continue to be addressed, the scale of the response across the nation needs to have long-lasting effects.

The Kickstart scheme launches this week to widen job opportunities for young people and I urge employers in Crawley to sign up.

Participating firms will be able to offer young people between 16 and 24 years of age who are claiming Universal Credit a six-month work placement that is fully funded by the Government.

The scheme will see Government pay all of the young persons’ age-relevant National Minimum Wage, National Insurance and pension contributions for 25 hours a week, which the employer can top up if they chose to.

Companies will also be paid £1,500 for each young person they take on as part of the initiative, to support training or other associated costs.

Kickstart is a vital part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs and I hope local employers will participate.

Young people are more likely to have been furloughed than the population as a whole, and we cannot allow them to be left behind as a result of the pandemic.

Creating jobs and helping young people develop the skills to access them is essential. Interested employers can find out more information via: www.gov.uk/kickstart

Henry Smith MP
Crawley Constituency

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