28 July 2020
What is Talking Points?
Cambridge News asks a representative of each local political party to answer a question on a local issue in just 300 words. The answers are then published in the physical copy of the Cambridge News every fortnight. Here, we share our response to the question.
Today's Question: which issues should take priority with the recently announced police funding boost in Cambridge?
The Green Party supports compassion focused policing; aiming to tackle social issues at their source, before they become crimes. Rather than provide the additional funding to traditional police structures, the money would be best spent supporting those services which support or reduce police work indirectly.
In particular, the national lockdown has seen a rise in domestic abuse, sexual assault and childhood malnutrition across the country. This situation is complex and demands an understanding of the different interventions which would be effective prevention. Extra funding should aim to improve the capacity of social services, schools and medical professions, to identify families at risk, pick up on warning signs and prevent crimes. Victims who suffer at the hands of abusers must be given the highest level of support available to rebuild their lives in a safe manner, away from abusers.
County lines drug trafficking and associated crimes such as burglary remain in Cambridgeshire. There is a risk that this will increase again, as people start to leave their homes and organised groups seek to supplement their income. Investigations into these crime syndicates must be prioritised so networks can be properly dismantled. The often disenfranchised and exploited young people at risk of becoming involved need reliable support to see that a criminal life is not valuable. Extra funding should be provided to schools and community clubs to increase extra-curricular opportunities, linked to future skill development.
Officers need better professional development, education and training. This must include awareness of racism and behavioural models for themselves and the people they serve. Institutional racism continues to be a problem within police forces across the UK and in Cambridge, as can be testified by members of our community; recent coverage of a Cambridgeshire officer admitting to stopping a driver because he was black, is no exception.
Our response was written by Matthew Howard. Matt is our City Council candidate for Abbey, his professional background is in chemical engineering, and he has a particular interest in how local communities could be structured in a healthier, more sustainable way.