General election 2010: Who will cut crime in Huddersfield?
Apr 19 2010 by Barry Gibson, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
CRIME,and the fear of crime, are never far from people’s thoughts – whether it’s locking the front door in the morning, or reading about the murder of Cowcliffe shopkeeper Gurmail Singh. It’s no surprise then that policing will be a key issue in the general election campaign. BARRY GIBSON asks Huddersfield’s candidates what they would do to make the town safer.
LABOUR MP Barry Sheerman is adamant: “Huddersfield isn’t a dangerous place.”
The veteran backbencher believes people’s perception of the level of danger on the streets is very different from the reality.
“Most types of crime are down quite substantially in Huddersfield,” he said.
“But people’s awareness goes up when there’s a tragedy like the recent murder of Gurmail Singh or when one of their friends is mugged.
“You can never compensate people for the suffering which crime causes, but the general trend is that crime is coming down.”
Mr Sheerman added that Labour had given courts more sentencing powers. He said: “My wife has been a magistrate for a long time, and the sentences available to them have risen. Because of that we have more people in prison.”
But the Huddersfield MP admitted that too few prisoners were being reformed.
“We haven’t done nearly enough to give people who have served their time the chance to rehabilitate their lives,” he said.
Huddersfield Lib Dem candidate James Blanchard said his party would make sure there are more police officers on the street.
He said: “We would fund 3,000 extra officers nationally by scrapping the identity card database. This would allow an extra 109 officers in West Yorkshire, of whom around 10 would be based in Huddersfield.”
Mr Blanchard added that the police had to become more democratic.
“I want people to have faith in the police because so many crimes are going unrecorded,” he said.
“I want people to be able to elect their police authorities.”
Karen Tweed, who is running for the Conservatives in Huddersfield, knows first-hand that victims sometimes don’t report crime.