Speech delivered to Labour Party Conference on Wednesday 28 September 2011
Conference. I’m Sundip Meghani from Leicester West CLP.
I’m a solicitor, a newly elected Labour and Co-operative Councillor in Leicester, and a member of the Leicestershire Police Authority.
Yesterday our Leader Ed Miliband began the substantive part of his speech by saying “this is a dangerous time – a dangerous time for Britain”. And he’s absolutely right.
“By slashing police numbers the Tories are putting peoples’ lives at risk.” Not my words Conference – the words of a Merseyside police officer, a father of two, whom I spoke with right outside this venue.
Relying on the police is part of British society. We take them for granted. If our cars gets smashed or our homes gets burgled, the first thing we do is dial 999 – safe in the knowledge that police officers will arrive on the scene and be there to help us, protect us, and secure our property.
Now don’t get me wrong, the loss of up to 30,000 police jobs right across Britain will be a godsend. A godsend for those rioters and looters who were never caught and will probably commit crimes again, a godsend for serious and organised crime gangs for whom breaking the law is a way of life, and a godsend for those extremists in our midst, silently plotting to again bring terror to our streets.
When the riots took place in mid-August we also had disturbances in Leicester. Our directly elected Labour Mayor Peter Soulsby was himself out on the streets late into the night with the police, as gangs of youths attacked bars and local businesses. Conference, our Mayor Peter was forced to stand by and watch, as his own daughter’s bar in central Leicester was also smashed up.
In Leicestershire we’re losing more than 200 police officers and more than 200 support staff. So not only will we have fewer police officers on the streets, but when there aren’t enough support staff to do the admin, more police officers may end up in the back office.
The simple truth Conference is that this Tory-led government has lost the plot on law and order. They’re hell bent on making our Thin Blue Line even thinner. For those 20 millionaires who sit on the Cabinet, crime and anti-social behaviour is something that happens to other people, and police officers are just another casualty of Thatcherite economics.
Well we won’t stand for it Conference, and our party – the Labour Party – will stand by our police heroes, and fight to protect the safety and security of the British people.