On Wednesday evening Luton Borough Council debated a Liberal Democrat motion. Luton Councillor and Bedfordshire Police Authority member Martin Pantling outlined Liberal Democrat Crime policy, proposing real action to tackle crime in stark contrast to the last decade of New Labour rule.
Amongst other failures the Labour government:
1) tried to merge our local Police with forces covering Southend and coastal Essex. Fortunately, they were defeated by the scale of opposition;
2) has failed to refund the whole costs of the of all the preparatory work demanded by the Home Office for these mergers – estimated at £10 million nationally;
3) has consistently refused to reinstate full Anti-Terrorism funding for operations at Luton Airport while many smaller airports get this.
4) recently backtracked on a pledge to roll out 24,000 Police Community Support Officers nationwide. Instead of being able to recruit 199 such Officers to provide reassurance, Bedfordshire is now restricted to a maximum of 128 because of this Government U-turn.
Meanwhile Liberal Democrats would put many more police officers on the beat, funded by scrapping the government’s costly and unworkable ID card scheme. We also believe that local commmunities should have more power over pubs and clubs that cause trouble and that sentencing policy for convicted criminals should be clearer. Life should mean life, for example.
Liberal Democrats would also work towards reforming the prison system. At present around 60% of those released from prison reoffend within two years. By investing in education and training and getting prisoners working, with the proceeds going to compensate victims of crime, we could put a stop to prison being just a ‘training ground’ for more crime.
The motion was passed by the Borough Council but the Labour members did not debate the issues or vote on the motion.
Cllr Pantling said, “This shameful display of disregard for the people of Luton by the Labour Party comes hot on the heels of the last Council meeting where they didn’t think it was important enough to remain in the Council Chamber for a debate on the cutbacks to the NHS Drop-in centre.”