Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, today pointed to Home Office statistics showing gun crime, which was previously at a low level, nearly doubled across Hertfordshire, at a time when violent crime is rising across the country. Hertfordshire Conservatives said this was evidence that the Government?s knee jerk reactions, gimmicks and initiatives were not working, and expressed concern that new plans not to jail burglars could increase crime further.
Peter Lilley said:
“These new figures prove what we all suspected ? that violent crime is continuing to soar across Hertfordshire. Across the country, muggings are up 13 per cent, drug offences up 12 per cent and domestic burglary up 5 per cent. This bad news comes on top of the last set of local statistics, which showed that the number of household burglaries and robbery offences rose by over 41 and 37 per cent respectively in North Hertfordshire in the previous year.
“Yet the Government?s response to soaring crime is to issue new guidelines that first-time burglars should not be jailed. What signal does this send out to potential criminals? I believe the norm should be that burglars are jailed for their crimes. On top of this, we need a serious programme to reform youth offenders and an end to Britain?s drug culture. We must lead young people away from the conveyor belt to crime.
“Last week I met with Hertfordshire Chief Superintendent Andy Wright to discuss policing in the county. I was pleased to hear that he will introduce named police constables for most of the wards across Hitchin and Harpenden. This is an important move in the right direction, but I emphasise the need for more police on the beat and more locally based policemen, who will deter criminals by their presence on the streets.?