Monday, 5 May 2008

Greens Take Anti-crime Message to Brixton

Siân Berry, Green Mayor of London candidate, visited Brixton to launch the campaign of Lambeth and Southwark London Assembly candidate, and well-known local campaigner, Shane Collins.
Siân and Shane highlighted crime issues affecting the area, and presented some of the Green Party's policies for London that will help solve these problems, including:
  • Extra officers to allow Safer Neighbourhood Teams to work round-the-clock; when piloted in Fulham this cut burglaries by 52%
  • Reducing officer numbers on overpoliced demonstrations and VIP security, and making commercial events pay for their policing, to free up resources for community policing
  • Better support for youth work and crime prevention projects, giving funding for a minimum of 3 years so they can spend more time working and less filling in grant applications. More established schemes will get 5 or even 10 years funding at a time.
Siân said, "If we're serious about cutting crime, we need to get more police on the streets. The most effective way to do that is through Safer Neighbourhood Teams - trusted officers who are known to their local community and who can do the vital work to reduce crime as well as prosecute it.

"We want to feel safe in our local area when we get home late in the evening and when we are asleep, not just during office hours. We'll beat crime not by tough-talking gimmicks, but by real community policing."

On voluntary sector funding, Siân added: "Too many great projects spend most of their time applying for the next short-term grant rather than actually working to improve options for everyone, including young people, in their local area. I want to change that and give them the time and security they need to do their vital jobs."

Shane Collins is also the Green Party's national spokesperson on drugs policy and has long campaigned for a more rational drugs policy for the UK. Regulation of cannabis supply, and management of heroin addictions by prescription, would cut the link between drugs and crime, he argues.

Shane said, "Drug use, and the consequences of their prohibition on London's culture, economy and crime rate are undeniable. Green policies aim to minimise the harm to those who use drugs and reduce the harm to society at large resulting from drug-related crime.

"Prohibition ensures that the drug trade stays in criminal gangs. Dealers and users are forced to stay out of sight of the justice system, so disputes between them are often settled with violence and weapons. This has led to an influx of guns and knives into urban communities which in turn has led to a fear of youth.

"The Prime Minister's Number Ten Strategy Unit found that 57% of all crime and 80% of burglary in the UK is to feed a heroin or crack drug habit. A Green drug policy will lead to a large drop in crime and less work for the police, court and prison system."

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