‘We need more police in Wakefield and the Five Towns - it’s not rocket science’ writes Yvette Cooper MP

MP Yvette Cooper
MP Yvette Cooper

We need more police in Wakefield and the Five Towns. It’s not rocket science - as the Home Secretary has been forced to admit, writes MP Yvette Cooper.s

Our area has lost nearly half of our neighbourhood police officers since 2010 as a result of the Conservative Government’s austerity.

Now we’ve seen a big increase in violent crime and robbery in the Wakefield District, with rising anti-social behaviour too.

Is anyone surprised? Government Ministers claimed for years there was no link between police numbers and crime.

The rest of us knew that was a load of rubbish.

Our local officers and PCSOs work really hard but they are badly overstretched. That means loads more crimes are never solved, more criminals are getting away with it and more victims are being let down.

The youth service has been cut in half round here too and parent support has been slashed because of Government cuts. That means there’s less for kids to do.

At the same time more children are being excluded from schools. Then people wonder why more teenagers are getting themselves into trouble.

It’s completely irresponsible. The Government is just standing by while crime goes up and our communities pay the price.

It’s time we had a bit of common sense back.

We need police back on the beat, more action on the causes of crime including drugs, and more investment in youth services and activities.

The Home Secretary has admitted we need 20,000 more police - but that’s how many his Government has cut over the last nine years. I’ve called on him in Parliament to bring more back to keep our communities safe.

Over 1,000 people have now signed our petition to keep Pontefract Birth Centre open.

Since Mid Yorkshire Trust announced they wanted to close it last year, I’ve been fighting with local mums to keep it open.

I met with the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, and called on him to back our campaign and keep the midwife led maternity unit here in Pontefract.

Over a thousand babies were born in the Pontefract unit over the last few years and mums should have choice rather than making Pinderfields even more overstretched.

We are making progress. We’ve prevented them from closing it by stealth — they had originally planned to close it to all new bookings this year.

Now we’ve persuaded them to pursue alternative ways to keep it open including more community services like antenatal care and health visitors as well the birth unit.

But they’ve told me they won’t take a final decision until the autumn so it’s vital we keep up the pressure.

I had my three kids here in Pontefract and I think it’s vital we keep services in our towns.

Our NHS has been badly hit by Government austerity and we need more midwives everywhere.

But too often towns are hardest hit because services get moved back to the cities.

We need to keep our midwife led unit, and we also need a fair deal for our towns.