British Crime Rate
Violent crime 'rise' sparks row
Crime rate part two 4/21/2005
Crime figures 4/21/2005
crime 'rise' sparks row
Labour promises a six-fold increase in community support officers. The main parties are seeking to bolster their law and order credentials after figures showed violent crime up in England and Wales.
Overall in the last three months of 2004 - violent crime rose 9%.
Tony Blair said more needed to be done to tackle violent crime, and pledged a 15% cut in overall crime by 2008.
The Lib Dems and Tories both want to tackle crime by increasing police numbers, particularly on the beat.
The recorded crime figures, for the last three months of 2004, show firearms crimes rose 10%.
Labour is planning to introduce a Violent Crime Reduction Bill if re-elected. A big aspect of the bill will be action against knives and a possible ban on replica firearms, something previously believed to be impractical.
Conservative leader Michael Howard said crime had risen 15% since 1998 and said: "What people want is not more talk from Mr Blair, they want action and that is what a Conservative government will deliver.
"More police, less paperwork, tough sentences - that's the way to bring crime under control and that's what a Conservative government will do."
Labour say crime has fallen by 30% since they came to power in 1997, and Mr Blair stressed crime-cutting plans such as increasing the number of community support officers from 4,000 to 24,000 by 2008. [Just what free people need - a cop on every corner]
Mr Blair said crime and anti-social behaviour remained a "huge issue". He said he recognised that people wanted a "visible uniformed presence - it may not always cut crime but it will certainly help cut the fear of crime". [What damn use is that, less fear puts more people on the street to be mugged]
The Lib Dems criticised the Labour pledge, Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Mark Oaten said: "Labour's promises ring hollow in the light of the latest violent crime figures."
Mr Blair was lambasted on the issue on a BBC Radio Five Live phone-in by a caller who said he was a police officer from Boston. He asked the Labour leader: "Why do you continually make my job harder by telling the general public there's more police officers than there's ever been, when for every police officer you put in rank and file on the street you've probably put another four in offices?"
Mr Blair said Labour was using legislation on anti-social behaviour and binge drinking to help tackle crime, and was making sure children were kept away from crime by a series of after-school and other programmes.
Crime rate part two
Election fact check: Crime figures