Jeremy Corbyn slams decision to cut PCSOs in Norfolk
PUBLISHED: 17:27 22 February 2018 | UPDATED: 17:27 22 February 2018
Archant Norfolk 2018
Jeremy Corbyn has slammed the decision to cut Norfolk's Police and Community Support Officers calling them the "eyes and ears" of the force.
In a visit to Great Yarmouth the Labour leader met police officers Andy Hunt and Nigel Robinson during a walkabout in the town. The pair told him about a recent increase in knife crime and drug dealing.
Speaking to this paper he said: “If you lose all PCSOs you lose the eyes and ears of the police force and crime is going to rise. It cannot be taken over by the remaining police officers because they cannot do everything.
“The issue is essential one of central government funding the police force – what is happening here is sadly repeated across the country. Knife crime and anti-social behaviour are rising because of a lack of police.
“I was very impressed with the police officer’s knowledge of the town. They know the community, the community knows them and crime is lower as a result.
“They told me that if you lose PCSOs their eyes and ears are gone and their ability to deal with low-level anti-social behaviour is reduced because they haven’t got the time to deal with it.
“There has to be more resources put in to the police. We would raise corporate taxation to pay for more police officers on the beat.”
And Mr Corbyn also used his visit to send a clear message to Great Yarmouth Tory MP and party chairman Brandon Lewis: “We are coming after your seat.”
Mr Lewis held his seat at last year’s election with a majority of almost 8,000 – Labour came second. Although an ambitious target, Mr Corbyn is confident the surge of voters that came to Labour last year will remain and even grow before the next election.
He said: “Brandon Lewis is a minister who we will be challenging and we will fight very hard to win this constituency. We have had Labour MPs here before and we will be selecting a candidate soon and then we will have a campaign in place.”
Asked if his party’s stance on Brexit was softening – although Labour’s membership is predominately anti-Brexit the party stands by the referendum result – Mr Corbyn said: “We accept the result of the referendum. What we want in the transitional period is exactly the same as we have now. What we want at the end is a tariff-free relationship with the EU.”