Improving standards and more officers on the beat key to rebuilding trust in police - Yvette Cooper

Rebuilding trust in the police by improving standards and getting more officers back out on the beat is the key to tackling high crime rates, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has said.

Labour front-bencher Ms Cooper said there have been some “very serious cases” involving police officers in recent months and there now “has to be a clear demonstration of improving standards and training across policing”.

The MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford also wants to see neighbourhood hubs brought in to help try to reduce offences in more communities. It comes as officials are questioning how to restore the public’s confidence in the national service’s beleaguered reputation following a series of high profile news stories, including the murder in London of York woman Sarah Everard.

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Speaking to The Yorkshire Post this week, Ms Cooper said: “It’s two things that need to be done. One is having more police back out in the communities and the second is to make sure that we’re increasing standards and training throughout police forces as well.

Home Affairs Committee Yvette Cooper appearing on the BBC1 current affairs programme, The Andrew Marr Show (PA)

“Right across the country, there are police officers doing an amazing job working incredibly hard, showing immense bravery as well because police officers are often those who run towards danger when other people run away. But there have been these very serious cases.

“And that’s why there has to be a clear demonstration of improving standards and training across policing. “

Ms Cooper was speaking after the announcement of crime data from the Office for National Statistics. Among the figures was confirmation that there was the highest numbers of recorded rapes in a 12 month period to September 2021, with a total of 63,136 across England and Wales.

Asked what this data could mean for more rural areas, she said: “There are women across the country not feeling they can have some confidence in being able to just go out at night and everybody should be able to feel safe on the streets.”

Adding that Labour is calling for the scrapping of a new Royal yacht, she added: “Why not put that money into neighbourhood hubs across the country that could bring together neighbourhood police officers and local council enforcement officers in communities right across the country and do something that’s just common sense? You want the police and communities working together, both in terms of preventing crime, and also in terms of catching perpetrators once crimes happen.

A spokesperson at the Home Office said: “Nobody should have to experience the horror of rape or other sexual crime and we are overhauling how these sickening crimes are dealt with. Our end-to-end rape review was a root and branch look at what is going wrong, from the police interview room to the court room, and through our Rape Action Plan, will make the system work better for victims and put more rapists behind bars.”