Labour pledges more police officers for South and West Yorkshire teams fighting gang violence

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Tackling gang violence in South and West Yorkshire would get an extra boost under Labour, with extra officers drafted in to help fight serious crime.

The party announced today that, if elected, they would expand the country’s 18 Violence Reduction Units (VRUs), which are found in areas of the country with the highest rates of gang-related crime, including South and West Yorkshire.

Labour's Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon. Photo: Submitted

Labour's Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon. Photo: Submitted

This would see an average of 20 new officers in each unit, and would be accompanied by new plans for investment to tackle reoffending rates, with pilot innovations supported by a £20m annual Justice Innovation Fund for Police and Crime Commissioners and local criminal justice boards to develop and trial the best practice ways of reducing re-offending.

Leeds East Labour hopeful and the party’s Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon said: “Under the Tories reoffending rates are far too high, meaning more victims of crimes and less safe communities.

“Labour will prioritise reducing the number of victims of crime and tackling the huge social and economic costs of offending.

“Our Criminal Justice Innovation Fund will help local experts invest in schemes that work best to tackle reoffending in their areas.”

Labour estimates reoffending costs at £18bn per year, with re-offending rates at 65 per cent for those released following a short prison sentence.

The party also said it would match in full the additional government resources announced for policing, it is from this cohort the additional officers for the VRUs would come.

But Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Corbyn’s Labour talk about tackling violent crime is pure irony – they oppose giving our police the powers they need to keep us safe and would leave violent criminals on our streets.

“Labour’s plans for more police officers are completely undeliverable. Corbyn’s Labour are consistently soft on crime and would lead to an increase in violence rather than a reduction as they would restrict stop and search, scrap short sentences and decriminalise drugs.

“Only Boris Johnson and the Conservatives are committed to cracking down on violent crime by putting 20,000 more police officers on our streets and backing them to do their jobs.”