On Friday I met with Sgt John Goodwin who leads the Safer Neighbourhoods Team in the Heath ward of the constituency. The team there appears to have had a positive impact since its introduction and they have been working hard with the local community to deal with these issues.
The Police are keen to encourage young people to get involved in the local community such as joining the local Army and Air Cadets. Four Dagenham wards are trying to get a youth club up and running to give local kids somewhere to go particularly on Friday evenings.However, as with all of our Police officers not dedicated to such teams, much of their time is taken up with form filling, and jumping through hoops, and not enough time out on the beat. Whilst Safer Neighbourhood Teams have helped to return police officers to the street, the hours that they work do not always fit in with the hours when crime is at its worst, and no account is taken of the need for different resourcing levels in different areas.
If I was the Conservative candidate for Dagenham and Rainham I would work closely with local police, and local residents, to help address these problems. My day to day experience as a barrister working in the criminal justice system has provided me with a valuable insight into the problems and pitfalls.
A Conservative government have pledged to be both tough on crime, but also addressing some of the issues behind criminal behaviour. We will provide more prison places to ensure that the most dangerous offendors can be locked up and the public protected, but also more drug rehabilitation places to address underlying issues.
Thank you to Sgt Goodwin and PCSO Lauren Adams for allowing me this opportunity.