Requesting meeting with Policing Minister who is unconcerned about rising crime in North Yorkshire
I have written to the Minister responsible for Policing, Nick Herbert, calling on him to reply to a letter which I wrote to him more than eight months ago, on 2 June 2011.
I wrote to the Minister to draw his attention to the clear correlation between the rise or fall in the number of police officers in North Yorkshire and York and the incidence of crime in the area.
I wrote to the Minister after I was contacted by the North Yorkshire Police Federation expressing their concerns about the significant 6% increase in crime which occurred in the first five months of 2011 when compared with the same period in 2010. I also pointed out that in some parts of the county crime rose by more than average – by 15% in Harrogate and 13% in Selby. I asked the Minister to comment on the increase in crime and to let me know how the Government proposed to tackle it. The Minister failed to respond to my letter despite me sending him a reminder on 23 September.
Now, nine months after the original request, I have received a letter dated 27 February, from Stephen Kershaw, an official at the Home Office, which states that he is responding to my letter of 2 June on behalf of the Policing Minister. In his bland, evasive and inadequate response, Stephen Kershaw explains that “the Government has made a clear commitment to tackling the budget deficit” and goes on to say “the Government is clear that there is no simple link between police officer numbers and the level of crime”, a point which I sorely dispute in relation to North Yorkshire and York. Some of the assertions made in the letter about crime falling, despite cuts in expenditure and falling police numbers, may be true at the national level but this is not happening in North Yorkshire.
I am angry with the Policing Minister for failing to reply to me and for allowing nine months to pass before asking an official to write. It is extremely worrying that the Minister dismisses the concerns I raised about rising crime in North Yorkshire – which is something that affects everyone in York and North Yorkshire – as too unimportant to warrant a response.
Ministers are accountable to Parliament and are expected to reply to correspondence from MPs – especially when a challenge is made that a policy is not working. The Minister clearly does not know how to respond to the problem of rising crime.
Rising crime impacts on all of us. I have written back to the Minister requesting a meeting and calling for him to say what he can do to stop the rise in crime in North Yorkshire. I do not want to wait a further nine months for a reply and have therefore asked him to meet me face to face to discuss my concerns. My correspondence with the Policing Minister can be read in full here.