Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney MP, Gerald Jones, has warned the Tories are ‘failing to keep our communities safe’ after new figures revealed crime in South Wales and Gwent Police Force areas is increasing, as Tory cuts sent Police officer numbers nationwide to the lowest level in three decades.

The new crime figures released this week showed the highest annual rise in police recorded crime since comparable records began in 2002.

In South Wales, violent crime rose by 15%, sexual offences rose by 42% and total recorded crime rose by 11%. Meanwhile in Gwent, violent crime has risen 20%, sexual offences rose 31%, with total recorded crime rising 14%.

Since 2010 South Wales Police has lost 257 officers, while Gwent Police has seen the loss of 283 officers.

Gerald Jones, the Member of Parliament for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney said,

“The public are now being forced to pay the price for the reckless risk the Tories took with community safety when they slashed 21,000 Police officers across England and Wales.

“Since being elected, I have worked to build close relationships with both South Wales Police and Gwent Police forces, and have raised the issues of police cuts numerous times in Parliament. I have also been privileged to have spent shifts with officers in both Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, seeing first-hand the officers’ dedication and excellent work they are doing to keep our communities safe, despite ever diminishing resources.”

“Our Police officers are working extremely hard in very difficult circumstances. The Government must realise that cuts have consequences and these latest figures reveal the Tories are failing in their duty to protect the public.”

Louise Haigh, Labour’s Shadow Policing Minister said:

“This is the grim legacy of seven years of Tory austerity; dedicated police officers fighting hard to keep the public safe with fewer officers per head than ever before. Labour will recruit another 10,000 new police officers to help fight crime and keep us safe.”

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