May I warmly welcome my hon. Friend to his place, as a fellow Yorkshire MP? I am pleased to tell him that the Government are determined to keep our families and communities safe by backing the police with the resources that they need. That is why we have committed to finding 20,000 new police officers by the end of 2023 to help to keep our streets safe. To that end, we have additionally announced £750 million of investment so that the first 6,000 can be in place by the end of next year.
Will my right hon. Friend work closely with the Home Secretary to ensure that Don Valley gets its fair share of the 20,000 police officers so that my constituents not only feel safer but are safer on the streets?
My hon. Friend is absolutely right. I am pleased to tell him that South Yorkshire will be allocated 151 of the initial wave of new police officers. That comes on top of the 55 that are being recruited this year, and, in addition, £1.6 million of funding has been allocated to his local force for a violence reduction unit that will further help. I hope that provides him and his constituents with the reassurance they need. We are committed to keeping them safe.
My constituents in Fleetwood have been left reeling over an unprecedented spate of armed robberies in shops in the town over the festive period. Does the Minister think that the cuts to police numbers and the fact that they now have to be replaced was the wrong decision to make a decade ago? Does he not see that not just the cuts to police numbers but cuts to youth services that help to work with young people have been the wrong decisions?
The hon. Lady talks about things a decade ago. A decade ago, this country was borrowing £150 billion—the largest deficit in peacetime history. That is why this Government had to take action to restore our public finances to a place of sanity, and that is why now, because of the careful management of the economy, we are able to invest in 20,000 new police officers and additionally give them the powers they need to keep us all safe.
We welcome the 50 new police officers for Dorset that we fought so hard to get, and 120 more are planned over the next two years. Can my right hon. Friend please confirm that we will definitely get these extra officers for Dorset?
I am pleased to give my hon. Friend that reassurance. That is why the Chancellor committed in the spending review to specific additional funding of £750 million for the first year, for the first 6,000, and additional funding will follow to ensure that we deliver on the commitment of 20,000 new officers across the country.
Does the Minister agree that we not only need more police officers but a new partnership forged locally between youth services, the police and the educational sector? Is it not time for some new cross-party thinking about how we tackle the crime and disorder on our streets at the moment?
I fully agree with the hon. Member’s comments. That is why we are funding violence reduction units, which start to build partnership working at a local level between social services, police and local authorities. The Queen’s Speech contained a Bill that will further strengthen that duty on local authorities, police and other partners to work together to deliver the benefits that he rightly observed.