Home Secretary Priti Patel defends Conservative record on crime and justice during Hartlepool by-election visit
Home Secretary Priti Patel defended the Conservatives approach to crime and justice in Hartlepool during a visit to the town.
Ms Patel was the latest senior member of the Government to come to Hartlepool to support the party’s by-election candidate Jill Mortimer following two recent trips by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The Home Secretary helped deliver election leaflets with Ms Mortimer on the Fens estate on Thursday.
She was quizzed about previous Cleveland Police cuts of 500 officers since 2010 plus the closure of the town’s magistrates courts and mothballing of Hartlepool Police Station custody cells.
But Ms Patel said the Conservatives are investing and policing by recruiting 20,000 new officers nationally by committing over £15billion.
She said: "Cleveland Police have got 185 more police officers. I made put a strong case to the Treasury to get 20,000 more police officers.
"Our first one year target for police officer uplift was 6,000 and we’re way above that now it’s 8,771. That means more officers on the beat.
"The more the forces recruit the more the more officers they will have out on the streets and they are being trained through the College of Policing in a rapid way.
"We’re innovating, we’re doing much more online as well as the physical training and the good news is for local people there will definitely be more police of on the streets.”
She said Jill Mortimer would be a ‘formidable’ advocate for Hartlepool.
Ms Mortimer said the Conservatives are tough on crime citing tougher sentences for people who attack emergency workers.
She said: “It was really good to be able to talk to the Home Secretary face to face.”
Meanwhile Labour Shadow Home Secretary David Lammy accused the Government of failing Hartlepool with almost 70,000 reports of anti social behaviour in the last decade and cases were up 19% in 2020 on the previous year.
And the backlog of cases at Teesside Magistrates Court, where most Hartlepool cases go to be dealt with, has increased from 2,827 in 2010 to 5,279 as of last March.
Mr Lammy said: “Under the Conservatives, criminals have never had it so good.
"Labour is on the side of victims of crime – and in power we will restore the justice system so that everyone gets the fast justice they deserve.”