OPINION: Johnson 'failing' to keep citizens safe, says Ipswich leader

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to restart the country's economy Picture: JONATHAN BRADY/PA

Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere has criticised prime minister Boris Johnson's policies on crime - Credit: PA

One of the most fundamental duties of any government is to keep its citizens safe.

By a whole range of measures, Boris Johnson’s government is failing in this duty.

Across a broad range of crimes, rates are rising – especially serious and violent crimes. Fraud is rising unchecked. Reports of anti-social behaviour are soaring.

In the face of this rising tide of criminality, Boris Johnson’s recent “Crime Week” response was seriously underwhelming.

David Ellesmere.

Ipswich Borough Council Labour leader David Ellesmere - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

It was little more than a series of policy reannouncements, with a few gimmicks and soundbites thrown in.

The fact that the headline policy – making community payback offenders wear hi-vis vests – already happens tells you all you need to know.

Ministers were so embarrassed about how thin this all was that they didn’t even dare consult with the police before announcing it.

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This government can’t tackle crime because it can’t admit that cuts it has made since 2010 have made crime worse.

Our police have suffered huge cuts, hampering their ability to fight crime.

21,000 police officers have been cut since the high point under the last Labour government.

The recent increases still won’t get us back to those levels and don’t do anything to address the 18,000 cuts in police staff and 6,800 community support officers.

The police are overwhelmed. You never see officers out on the beat. Many crimes aren’t investigated.

Residents and businesses get such a poor response they stop reporting crimes. You’d get a quicker answer from a message in a bottle than ringing the 101 crime reporting line.

The criminal justice system has been starved of cash. Half of England’s magistrates’ courts – and four out of five in Suffolk – have been shut.

The number of successful prosecutions has plummeted. Shamefully, just 3.3% of reported rapes result in a successful prosecution.

Increasing sentences is no deterrent for a crime where 97% of offenders get off scot-free.

Youth services have all but disappeared leaving no positive activities for young people to keep them away from trouble and out of the clutches of criminal gangs.

If the government is serious about tackling crime, then these are the issues it needs to address.

If this requires more money, how about scrapping Boris Johnson’s £250million vanity yacht for starters?