Corbyn campaigns on 'bring police to people' platform for commissioner vote


Jeremy Corbyn is putting frontline community policing at the heart of Labour's police and crime commissioner (PCC) election campaign saying "reckless" Tory cuts are threatening people's safety and security.

The party leader said: "We want to return to the principle we introduced as a Labour government on community policing, policing by consent and that's exactly what our candidates for police and commissioners are determined to do."

He added the party wanted to "bring the police to the people to ensure they live safe, secure lives".

Speaking to an audience of party faithful in Birmingham on Thursday and praising existing Labour West Midlands PCC David Jamieson, he said the force had been "leading by example" on reducing stop and search.

Mr Corbyn, in a speech to launch the party's national police and crime commissioner election campaign, said: "Stop and search should be used very sparingly only if it can be seen to be effective (in the community)."

He acknowledged the party had opposed the creation of PCCs, but said it was now "vital in a changing world where we face so many new threats".

There was criticism of the Conservatives' policing budget cuts, which the party leader said had led to the loss of 18,000 police officers, 12,000 of which were from the frontline.

He said: "The Government don't seem to be taking these cuts seriously."

Mr Corbyn added: "It is disgraceful that when the police are more vital than ever to keeping people safe, their numbers are being reduced.

"The safety and security of people in this country are being recklessly threatened by the slashing of budgets."

Mr Corbyn, opening the campaign at the Perry Common Community Hall in Erdington, went on to say tackling hate crime or discrimination was at "the very centre of our belief in the Labour Party".

He was joined by shadow home secretary Andy Burnham, who told party members and candidates the Conservatives' cuts to policing, fire services and local government were "putting people's safety at risk".

Mr Burnham said: "Tory austerity is tearing a hole in the safety net that should be there to ensure the safety of communities.

"I believe these cuts are putting people's safety at risk.

"They've gone too far and cannot carry on."

He added: "They used to be party of law and order. But this Government have delivered six years of cuts to the police, but worst they are cutting councils to the bone, decimating the fire service.

"We have thousands of firefighters, fire pumps, fire stations closing as a result of council cuts, care withdrawn from vulnerable people who end up on doorstep of police and this cannot carry on."

He also praised the work of police community support officers.

The pair are visiting towns and cities across the West Midlands region, where they will be meeting would-be voters.