Ruffley highlights shocking rise in Suffolk violent and sexual crime

Wednesday, 28 July, 2004

David Ruffley MP this week pointed to new crime figures published by the Government as evidence that Labour have failed to be 'tough on crime'. The figures released by the Home Office on 20 July show that in the last year, violence against the person rose by 26% in Mid Suffolk and by 13% in St Edmundsbury. The figures for the number of sexual offences are equally shocking. There has been a 33% rise in sexual offences in Mid Suffolk and a 14% rise in St Edmundsbury.

Mr Ruffley said:

'These figures for our local authority areas are truly shocking. No amount of statistical manipulation can conceal what everyone in Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket already knows: violent crime is soaring. This is extremely worrying, and shows yet again that the Government is not making enough headway in tackling crime and disorder. These figures will come as no surprise to the millions of people up and down the country who suffer daily from crime, much of it drug related, and in our town centres increasingly alcohol-fuelled.

'Whilst I support the hard work of Suffolk Police, the problem is that the Government's plethora of initiatives and vast bureaucracy are preventing the police from doing their job."

The Conservatives have a series of practical proposals to address Suffolk's crime crisis:

• An extra 40,000 police officers across England & Wales, with 379 allocated to the Suffolk Constabulary,

• 18,000 new hard drug rehabilitation places to give young hard drug-users a clear choice: intensive, residential rehabilitation or face the penal system.

• Directly elected police boards, with the Home Office's current powers over local policing transferred to local people, accountable via the ballot box.

• Reversing the reclassification of cannabis from a Class B to a Class C drug, and engage in a proper war on drugs with the aim of creating a drug-free society.

• Resist Liberal Democrat plans to let burglars escape jail, abolish mandatory life sentences for serial rapists and weaken the laws further on hard drugs.