The Tory approach to policing and criminal justice has been reckless and remote and has resulted in a significant deterioration in outcomes. Effective policing cannot be provided on the cheap. It has led to what HM Inspectorate of Constabulary described as dangerous, disturbing practices, with investigations shelved, vulnerable victims let down and dangerous suspects remaining at large.
We believe in investing in policing that prevents crime and make our communities safer, and we will enforce the laws protecting police and other emergency workers from violent assault.
We will work to rebuild the whole police workforce, recruiting more police officers, police community support officers and police staff. We will work with police forces to invest in a modern workforce to tackle the rise in violent crime and cybercrime under the Tories. To deliver these priorities, Labour will work with Devon Police and Crime Commissioner to reform police funding and share new resources fairly, and to ensure that local needs are met.
We will retain local democratic accountability for police forces and campaign for reform of the police funding formula to ensure sufficient, sustainable resources are fairly allocated. We will agree resources with the police authorities to combat crime and restore community policing by consent.
Effective police work requires the police to serve their communities and work collaboratively with youth workers, mental health services, schools, drug rehabilitation programmes and other public agencies. A police force working within our communities, with the capacity to gather local intelligence, is also the frontline of our domestic security – the first eyes and ears of effective counter-terrorism.
We will work to eliminate institutional biases against BAME communities. Proportionate stop-and-search based on intelligence is a needed tool of effective policing, but the use of expanded powers means black and Asian men are still more likely to be stopped and searched, poisoning relations between the police and the local communities they serve. We will also work to increase diversity within the police force at every level.
We will demand better police training on domestic abuse and offences arising from coercive control, as well as historical abuses and other crimes neglected by the reduced forces operating under Tory austerity.
A Labour government will establish a Royal Commission to develop a public health approach to substance misuse, focusing on harm reduction rather than criminalisation. A Labour government will also introduce minimum legal standards of service for all victims of crime.
The Fire and Rescue Service
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue service, not only fights fires but protects communities from disasters such as flooding, terrorist attacks, rail disasters and road traffic accidents. We support the development of collaboration between all the 999 services in the development of a co-responder service, so that fire fighters can respond to medical emergencies and if necessary, make arrests. This will require adequate training and support personnel. We also believe that the Fire and Rescue service should have a statutory duty to tackle flooding.
In addition, we will:
- • Work to maintain a comprehensive network of fire stations to ensure the people of Devon are properly protected in case of fire or other emergency, including flooding and the threat of terrorist attack.
- • Support the prevention programme of fire education within schools and the community and industry, in particular advising on appropriate building material such as external cladding. We also support the inclusion of sprinklers and fire alarms in all new homes and public buildings.
- • Oppose the transfer of responsibility for the Fire Service from councillors to the Police and Crime Commissioner
- • Support greater investment in the fire and rescue service, including recruiting more new frontline firefighters and support abolition of the public sector pay cap that has meant firefighters are on average £2,000 worse off than they were in 2010.
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