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Increase stop and search powers

Two weeks ago, leading a delegation of Lincolnshire MP’s to press home the cash needs of Lincolnshire’s police force, I was mindful of the difference made by our policemen and women’s dedication.

So, I am pleased that Policing Minister, Nick Hurd, has agreed to examine the shortage of future funds which could endanger their work.

Whilst short term cash injections are appreciated, for 20 years I have argued for a fundamental funding flaw to be addressed. Put simply, the current funding formula underestimates the challenges of policing a place like Lincolnshire. The recent break-in at a Spalding shop and attempt on another, show just why we need enough police on the beat.

Despite all this, our county is repeatedly rated as one of the safest places in Britain. Sadly, elsewhere crimes are more numerous, with gang-inspired violent crimes becoming all too common, especially in our capital city where they are a weekly occurrence. What should be done is straightforward to implement and much needed – we must increase the police’s use of stop and search powers and impose tougher sentences on those convicted.

Officers must no longer be frightened of accusations of racism when stop and search is used properly and routinely. The police do not use this tool without cause and if we don’t trust these brave officers – who know their communities – disorder will prevail.

In re-emboldening the police to exercise their authority, we can clamp down on villains who, with some kind of perverse pride, carry knives, machetes and guns. Let us send a clear message of support to the police who stand between all of us and chaos.

When criminals are caught with lethal weapons the law must hit them hard.

It is unacceptable that the maximum punishment for carrying a knife is just four years in prison. After all, there is a 10 year sentence for carrying a gun, yet both weapons are owned with the same intent.

So, the punishment for possession of weapons needs to be greater, but – just as importantly – those who commit vile attacks must be punished more severely. It is extraordinary that the average ‘life sentence’ in the UK is 15 years. Evidence show most people want longer sentences for violent criminals, with a survey in 2013 showing that 83 per cent of the public

favoured whole life sentences.

Years ago, Michael Howard said ‘prison works’; he was right. When the prison population grows – as it did in 2015-17 for example – crime falls. It is right to put criminals where they can do no public harm.

That great Roman, Cicero, declared that – ‘the safety of the people shall be the highest law’.

Just as it did then, good order protects the law abiding from those who are not.

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