Time and time again, it has been made clear to me by constituents that they want to see more police on the streets. Crime has changed and a great deal more of it is carried out online. Resources are understandably needed to tackle these types of crimes. However, the sight of police on the beat, visible in the communities they serve, is an important deterrent to would-be criminals and a comfort to local residents. The Conservative Party has always been the party of law and order, and it is important we show the police that we are absolutely behind them.
You will likely already know Boris has pledged 20,000 more police officers across the country. I pledge to fight for more police in our local areas, like Harwich and Manningtree, both of which saw spikes in buglaries in recent years, and Mersea Island which saw issues with anti-social behaviour. I am also campaigning for the disparity in funding received by Essex Police compared to other forces be addressed, We must keep on seeing more officers in North Essex.
Residents in Harwich in particular have made clear to me that they have had enough. One look at the various Facebook pages monitoring and discussing crimes in Harwich shows the problem that needs tackling. But, more than that, it shows how much the local community cares about seeing their town being ruined by selfish criminals. I will ask for more officers for the town, on top of the new officers recently added to the community policing team, as well as more officers for rural areas which often feel isolated. That is why I have campaigned for increased funding for Essex police, to address the historic inequality in the amount of money our force receives compared to other forces around the country. We have achieved some success and the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Roger Hirst, deserves praise for his role in growing the force.
We will now see 368 more officers in Essex by April 2020 compared to 2016. He has also overseen the growth of the second largest Special Constabulary in the country. The Prime Minister and Home Secretary have also made clear their full support for our officers, with 20,000 more being recruited. This sends a clear message to criminals: you will be caught and you will be punished if you commit crimes.
I pledge to support recruiting more officers, tougher sentencing and more police powers to keep our communities safe.
Burglaries in Harwich and Manningtree
Despite our unique funding pressures, Essex Police has always faced up to the challenges in North Essex. Both Harwich and Manningtree have been subjected to spates of burglaries in recent years. These understandably shook the local community and residents demanded action.
I met police representatives and some of our tremendous officers to see what more could be done to stop these crimes and was pleased to see the perpetrators not only caught but sentenced to prison. With more resources in the coming years from the Conservatives our police will have an enhanced capability to intervene more quickly and with greater visibility. If you are a victim of crime and do not feel you have been heard then please contact me and I will help you wherever I am able to.
Occasionally I receive a flurry of emails informing me of a traveller site in the constituency. Public or private land is usually illegally accessed by force and a camp set up. The following days often sees illegal activities including hare chasing, antisocial behaviour and even the soiling of the ground with human waste.
It is salt in the wound for local communities who know how difficult it can be to have these groups moved on. Each day of delay increases the waste left behind and the damage to parks, playing fields and village greens.
What I always do, and what I did recently over an encroachment in Great Tey, is raise reports of new sites with the Chief Constable of Essex Police and the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner. I will press the case until officers are on site and every effort is taken to move the groups on.
Rest assured, I will also support proposals to strengthen police powers and provide more support to Councils in this regard whenever they come to the House. On a local level, this is also something the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Roger Hirst, and I have had dialogue on. I will of course support any plans he has to empower the police in addressing these incursions swiftly
I am always grateful for these cases being brought to my attention so that I can ensure the police take swift action and minimise the damage to our community areas as much as possible. So if you do see a site broken into and caravans on public land, please do let me know as soon as possible and I will support your community as a matter of priority.
It is very easy to forget that a proportion of crime is committed in rural areas, away from our town centres. This type of rural crime, aside from traveller encroachments I have mentioned above, usually involves fly-tipping or burglaries. Farmers face thefts of machinery and it is understandably harder for police to get to remote locations as quickly. Rural communities face unique challenges and policing teams in Essex liaise through the Rural Crime Forum which I occasionally attend to offer my support.
The dumping of waste on roadsides and in hedges is a crime. It should not be overlooked and I always encourage the police to investigate it as such. It greatly inconveniences local communities, damages habitats and pollutes the countryside, and often results in your parish council paying for removals. I pledge to always press for fly-tipping to be treated as a crime and for ever effort to be made to catch the criminals carrying out this antisocial behaviour to try and save their own money.