Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper met with Hastings police officers and Street Pastors last week when she visited the town at the invitation of Sarah Owen, Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Hastings & Rye.
On her visit to Hastings Police Station, Yvette met with officers from the neighbourhood policing team, who explained the invaluable role they play in our local communities, and with the coordinator of Hastings Street Pastors, Martin West, who outlined how his team has supported the police in keeping the town centre safe over the last five years. Martin explained that Hastings Street Pastors have recently increased their volunteering hours by patrolling the town centre on some Thursday nights as well as Fridays and Saturdays, as many of our local students are out on Thursdays.
Yvette also met Chief Inspector Paul Phelps, Hastings District Commander, who expressed his concern about maintaining the neighbourhood policing that is so vital to local community safety, while also implementing the severe budget cuts introduced in the last five years.
Sarah Owen said:
“We’ve already lost 381 frontline police officers in Sussex since the Coalition Government came to power in 2010, with hundreds more due to be lost this year. These cuts are not necessary – I’m really pleased that Labour will scrap Police & Crime Commissioners and invest that wasted money back into frontline policing, where it can make a real difference to the quality of people’s lives and the safety of local communities.”
Yvette Cooper, Shadow Home Secretary, added:
“It was really good to spend time with Sarah in Hastings & Rye and particularly to meet local police officers and Street Pastors who are committed to making their neighbourhoods safer and stronger for all residents. I share the concerns of Chief Inspector Phelps about the cuts to frontline policing, which will undoubtedly continue to have an adverse impact on local communities such as those in Hastings & Rye.”
Martin West, coordinator of Hastings Street Pastors, said:
“We had a productive time with Sarah, Yvette and local police, informing and discussing with them some of the challenges we’ve come across. In the five years that Hastings Street Pastors has been going, we’ve been pleased to work with lots of partners and there’s been progress in many areas for the benefit of all. We look forward to continuing to work with all partners after the election for the common good of Hastings.”