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Jeremy Corbyn says Tories have 'created an environment where crime can thrive', in letter to Islington North constituents

PUBLISHED: 15:07 12 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:59 12 September 2019

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA Wire.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA Wire.

PA Wire/PA Images

Jeremy Corbyn is "shocked and saddened" by the violent crime rate in Islington North and says making its streets feel safe is a top priority.

In an open letter to his constituents, the Labour leader sets out work he's doing in partnership with the Met Police, Islington Council and community groups to tackle issues such as knife crime and drug dealing.

He says police have been "starved" of funding since 2010 and accuses the Tories of "creating an environment where crime can thrive" in Islington. Mr Corbyn has long advocated recruiting 20,000 extra officers to reverse police cuts, and since becoming PM Boris Johnson has also touted this policy.

The letter reads: "Dear Islington North constituents,

Like all of us in our community, I have been shocked and deeply saddened by the incidents of violent crime in Islington North. I have sat in the living rooms of too many families in Islington consoling them after they've lost a child. Across our country, hundreds of young people have lost their lives in recent years. It is a national crisis and it is only getting worse.

Violent crime has not only cost young people their lives and caused unbearable heartache for the families and friends of victims, but understandably left people worried about their safety and the safety of their children. There is great concern in our community regarding the issue of knife crime, drug activity and the safety of young people on our streets and it saddens me that our community no longer feels safe for many of our residents.

I am doing all that I can to address these issues, in partnership with Islington Council, the Metropolitan Police and community groups.

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I recently convened a roundtable meeting with senior management from the council, the police, local ward councillors, adult social services, children and families services, youth community projects and faith leaders. It is absolutely vital that all parts of our community come together and work together, and further meetings are planned with young people to ensure that they are at the heart of the steps that we are taking to tackle this issue.

I would like to thank the police and local youth services and gang intervention teams for the work that they are doing in our community around the clock to keep us safe. But the truth is that they are being asked to do more with less, and our police and the public services that we all rely on have been starved of the funding that they need over the last nine years.

In Islington alone we have seen over 300 police officers cut from the borough. Since 2010, over 21,000 police officers have been cut from our streets across the country as a result of austerity handed down by the Tories in Westminster, in addition to 40 per cent all police community support officers. Across England our youth services have been cut by 70 per cent since 2010, with £880 million cut from the services that support our young people, in addition to councils losing half of their funding in total. The Tories have betrayed a generation of young people and created the conditions in which crime can thrive, and it is communities like ours that are paying the price.

You simply cannot keep people safe on the cheap, and I am in no doubt that the blame for the recent rise in violent crime lies at the doors of successive Tory prime ministers and their cabinets who have slashed funding for our police, youth services, local authorities, schools and mental health services.

Despite these cuts, Islington Council, in partnership with the police and the local community are working hard to prevent and tackle crime, which has led to a more than 5 per cent reduction in crime across the borough in the last 12 months. They have also kept all council-run youth hubs open, as well as maintaining other open to all youth services. However, I realise this statistic brings little comfort to people when incidents of violence have been serious and at times, fatal. One lost life, is one too many.

As your Member of Parliament, I would encourage all residents to report all incidents of crime and any information about incidents that have taken place to the police, which can be made confidentially if necessary. Any resident with concerns about the safety of their children should seek assistance and support whether it be through school, the local authority or youth services and local community projects.

Many of the people who do get caught up in violent crime are themselves often victims of exploitation and violence, so as we commit ourselves to taking action on violent crime and bringing the perpetrators of these horrendous crimes to justice, we must also ensure that we support our young people.

As a community we have mourned the loss of too many of our sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and friends. As your Member of Parliament I will continue to do all that I can to work with the police, Islington Council and our community to tackle the scourge of violent crime and ensure that our streets are safe for all of us.

Yours sincerely

Jeremy Corbyn MP."

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