“ I blame cuts” says Labour Cllr Matt Dent
Labour councillors in Southend have blasted the lack of ideas on crime from the Southend Conservative Party , in the wake of several recent incidences of knife crime in the town.
In the wake of a knife crime incident on Prospect Close and a taxi driver being robbed at knife point on Wesley Road, councillors say that residents deserve reassurance and real measures that will address these issues that is filling certain parts of Southend with fear.
Cllr Matt Dent, shadow portfolio holder for Public Protection, called on the administration to show leadership, and blamed eight years of cuts to the police by Conservative government for the spate of incidents, as well as the council administration’s failure to adopt ideas to reduce crime and keep the Southend residents safe from harm.
Labour Cllr Matt Dent said: “When I speak to residents, the common theme is that nobody feels safe in Southend any more.
“In the last few weeks we have seen offence after offence of violent crime, including two in the last weeks in the ward I represent, Kursaal.
“This cannot go on, and people cannot be expected to live like this.”
“Though the police are undoubtedly working very hard, they simply do not have the resources to do what is required after eight years of cuts, which have seen Essex lose more than 700 police officers.
“After the council unanimously agreed to write to the government calling for more funds, that letter was mysteriously not sent for months and we dont know what happened to it?
“It is clear that the Conservatives nationally and locally have no clue how to address this.
“Similarly, the Conservatives rejected a Labour proposal for a community safety team only to u-turn and try to claim the idea for their own four months later. Had the Tories agreed when Labour councillors first proposed it, that team would be in place now.”
“Even a few weeks ago, a Conservative councillor was saying that concerns about crime and safety in the town was ‘project fear’.
“I’d happily invite that councillor to come and speak to residents in Kursaal and other town centre wards. I seriously doubt they’d agree with him.”