Peterborough’s elected crime chief has hit back at Labour’s by-election candidate who claimed he is “remote to Peterborough and does not understand what’s happening here”.
The criticism of police and crime commissioner Jason Ablewhite was made by Lisa Forbes in an interview with the Peterborough Telegraph yesterday (Monday).
Ms Forbes, speaking alongside burglary victim Shezad Yousaf from charity Unite 4 Humanity, took aim at the former Conservative Huntingdonshire council leader and his party’s record on crime.
She said: “Under this Tory Government we’ve lost 21,000 police officers from our streets. The cuts are really hurting and it’s having an effect on the people of this city.
“People should not be able to do what they want without fear of being caught.
“I believe our police and crime commissioner is remote to Peterborough and does not understand what’s happening here.
“If I’m elected as our MP I will be fighting to make sure we get fair resources in this city. Under this government all we can do is to campaign for more police locally. What we need is a Labour government which will put more police on the streets.
“We’ve promised another 10,000.”
Ms Forbes, who is standing to win the seat at the by-election on June 6 after former MP Fiona Onasanya was recalled by constituents, has now written to Mr Ablewhite where she states she has “become increasingly concerned about the rising number of burglaries across Peterborough on both residential and commercial properties”.
She adds: “Our police officers represent the very best of our society, they put themselves in situations that the rest of us actively avoid. They strive to serve our communities and to keep us all safe.
“However, I fear that they are being badly let down by cuts from the Conservative Government that are putting public safety at risk.
“Given the obvious public interest in this issue and the levels of concern around crime in Peterborough, I am publishing this letter and look forward to your prompt response.”
Responding to the criticism in the PT article, Mr Ablewhite wrote on his Facebook page: “Extraordinary claims from the Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate in Peterborough. ‘We have lost 21,000 Police officers’ Cambridgeshire has NOT and will have record numbers by the end of the next financial year.
She does not mention the £4m the Constabulary lost in 2008/ 9 under Gordon Brown. ‘I believe the PCC to be remote to Peterborough and doesn’t understand what’s happening’. I’ve probably been in the City more than she has in the last year! Surgeries, public meetings, stakeholder meetings, member of the joint Mosques Council, Police Patrols, days of action.....oh and I’m there again this evening.
“The former Labour MP was invited to meet with me and the Chief Constable and never once replied to the invites let alone attend with all other County MP’s. This candidate clearly does not want to engage either if she is elected. Peterborough deserves a lot better!”