Leading Milton Keynes councillors have called on the Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner to get a grip on knife crime and focus more police resources on the city.
The Police and Crime Commissioner is a directly elected position responsible for tackling crime and policing across the Thames Valley area. Last year Matthew Barber, a Conservative, was elected promising more police on the streets.
Progressive Alliance councillors are calling on Mr Barber to get his priorities right and ensure more police officers in Milton Keynes to tackle a surge in knife crime, and spend less on leafy areas such as Henley-on-Thames.
Despite pledging more police during his election campaign Mr Barber recently REFUSED to answer questions from councillors over police numbers. He has also chosen to prioritise rural crime and traveller encampments across Thames Valley above knife crime in his Policing and Crime Plan.
Cllr Lauren Townsend, Cabinet Member for Community Safety said: “The Police and Crime Commissioner has lost control of knife crime in Milton Keynes. He needs to get a grip and sort his priorities out. We need more police on the streets of MK to prevent these awful crimes that are having a devastating impact on our community.”
Cllr Robin Bradburn, Deputy Leader of MK Council said: “The government established Police and Crime Commissioners as they say it makes someone accountable for policing and tackling crime. Yet Mr Barber simply refused to answer simple questions from councillors as to what the establishment figure for police numbers is across Thames Valley.”
“Now he is hitting local people with a 4.3% police tax rise from April. I think the people of Milton Keynes are justified in asking if Mr Barber really cares about this area. It seems odd that as violent crime spikes here in MK, he’s prioritising rural crime and talking about traveller encampments.”
“MK Tories think the public are silly enough to believe that CCTV is any sort of substitute for police on the streets. It isn’t. We need an increase in police numbers, not gimmicks.”
Cllr Lauren Townsend concluded: “We know policing alone won’t solve knife crime. That’s why despite £1billion in cuts to youth services across England in the past ten years, MK Council is investing in longer term initiatives to tackle the problem. More youth services. More education. Reducing poverty. However, we need more police in the city today and Mr Barber needs to really consider if he’s doing enough, because we know he isn’t.”