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David outlines his view of crime and the fear of crime in our communites
We are always being told that Suffolk is one of the safest counties in England. It is true we are not subjected to the high rates of crime that exist in inner cities. But hang on a minute. What about the FEAR of crime? In Suffolk we may not witness shootings every other week but in rural areas the FEAR of crime is very real. I am regularly contacted by people unhappy at the level of threatening anti-social behaviour in their town or village. This is not the fault of our dedicated policemen and women who are constantly striving to drive down crime. But peopleís feelings of remoteness can often instil an even greater fear of crime. For this reason the public must feel that the law is on their side and that the police will be on hand to help. I welcome the recent initiative from the local police and Havebury Housing to crack down on issues such as abandoned vehicles, graffiti, and poor lighting that all increase the fear of crime in our community. We must give people back the pride they once had in their neighbourhood. Thatís also why I support costed plans to increase the number of police nationally by one third Ė thatís 40,000 bobbies. This would give Suffolk an extra 350 officers alone. Our Suffolk policemen and police women work hard but we need more of them. WE NEED LESS RED TAPE as well. Police officers should spend more of their time actually on the beat fighting criminals. Officers are too often dragged down by Whitehall bureaucracy and form filling, which prevents them from patrolling the streets as much as they want to. And letís not forget the recent spate of violent armed attacks on shopkeepers in the Suffolk area. Very recently the postmaster in Botesdale was the subject of a violent attack by robbers armed with an axe and a shotgun. One can only imagine how terrifying an experience this must have been. The police clearly cannot be in every village all the time but more police on our streets would help. No wonder the call for a new law on householdersí rights to protect their own home against intruders is so loud in Westminster. I do feel strongly that people should feel safe in their own homes. People must be able to use all necessary force to protect themselves and their loved ones. The law must be changed to protect the householder not the burglar.



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