The shadow home secretary has criticised the government for cutting funds to strengthen communities and tackle crime while spending more than £100m electing police commissioners.
Yvette Cooper called for the government to abandon its controversial plan of “electing politicians on £120,000 a year to become crime chiefs” and use the money saved to prevent 2,000 police constable jobs being cut in 2012.
Praising a number of councils for their work with their communities, Ms Cooper said Labour’s policies had seen crime fall and the number of young offenders fall by a third “compared to the legacy the Tories left us with in 1997”.
She pointed to work in Lambeth LBC handing the running of youth services, including work to tackle gangs, to the community.
“I want them to be able to do more,” she said. “More action against gangs like in Boston or in Hackney where the police and council target gang members and confront them with the choice – get out of gangs and we will help you build a better future or face the full force of the law”.
However “the government says we can’t afford to” and gang prevention work was being cut in places like Tottenham, which was hit by riots this summer, she said.
“Communities across the country know we can’t afford not to,” Ms Cooper said.
“The taxpayer now has to pay out hundreds of millions of pounds in compensation to the businesses and families hit by riots. Far better to stop it happening in the first place.
“And don’t forget they can find cash for their priorities. Next year, in Olympic year, the government will spend over £100m electing politicians on £120,000 a year to become crime chiefs. Yet they are cutting thousands and thousands of police.”