Today, Charlotte Holloway, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Plymouth Moor View, has written to the Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner and our Conservative MP Mr Mercer to ask questions about recent crime increases, raising particular concerns on crimes that disproportionately affect women as well as Public Order Offences.
Dear Ms Hernandez and Mr Mercer MP,
You will no doubt be aware that crime rose across Devon and Cornwall by over a fifth in the last year. I was dismayed to read this being downplayed by Devon and Cornwall Police in subsequent media reports. I'm sure we'd be in agreement that many of our police are out there doing a great job but we do need to look seriously into why there is yet another significant year on year rise.
Crimes where women are often the victim are rising at a staggering rate across our two counties. The latest crime statistics show that stalking and harassment is up by 77% and sexual offences are up by a third in just one single year.
We must look very closely at why crimes of this nature, which disproportionately affect women, are escalating at such a rate and whether enough is being done to protect potential victims here in Plymouth.
These statistics are not a one-off anomaly. Since 2015, stalking and harassment crimes have more than tripled across Devon and Cornwall. Since the Conservative Government came into power in 2010 the annual figure for these sorts of crimes has gone up by over 800%. I'm sure you'll agree that's a truly astounding rate.
Similarly, Public Order offences are up by 43% in the last year, which includes crimes like drug crime and public drunkenness. Given the recent serious incidents in Whitleigh and Southway and ongoing cuts to police and PCSOs I believe it is imperative that we increase the number of PCSOs on the streets of North Plymouth to assist with valuable community work and intelligence gathering.
As a number of Plymouth residents have been in touch with me on these issues, I would be keen to meet with you both to discuss this further. I know Mr Mercer has disregarded my concerns on crime levels and resourcing previously, but these figures should mean we put party politics to one side and do what is best for Plymouth, as well as wider Devon and Cornwall. Given the public interest in this matter I will be making this letter public.
Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Plymouth Moor View and Crownhill resident
Cllr Tudor Evans, Leader of Plymouth City Council
Luke Pollard MP, MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport
Cllr Sally Haydon, Cabinet Member for Customer Focus and Community Safety