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Jeremy Corbyn strolls around Stourbridge on Labour action day

By Pete Madeley | Stourbridge | Politics | Published:

Jeremy Corbyn hit the streets of the Black Country today to rally against Government cuts to police grants.

The Labour leader was in the Black Country as part of a Labour action day

The Labour leader took a stroll down Stourbridge High Street as part of an action day, following a meeting with party members in Wollaston.

He was accompanied by officers from West Midlands Police, the region's Labour police and crime commissioner David Jamieson, and Shadow Attorney General Shami Chakrabarti.

During his visit Mr Corbyn had coffee in The Chemistry Cafe and visited the Cats Protection charity shop where he bought a sculpture.

WATCH Jeremy Corbyn greeted on Stourbridge High Street:

(Apologies for the sound issues affecting the first five minutes)

He called for more investment in the police and warned that fewer bobbies on the beat and 'slower clear up rates' had become 'part of the problem'.

Recorded crime is up one fifth since 2010, with figures for the Black Country showing a spike of 14 per cent.

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Labour says this is partly down to 21,000 police officers being cut from the service since 2010 - around 2,000 of which have gone from West Midlands Police

In its general election manifesto last year, Labour vowed to put 10,000 extra police on the streets.

Jeremy Corbyn poses for a selfie during a visit to Stourbridge town centre

Mr Corbyn has accused Theresa May and Amber Rudd of 'trying to protect communities on the cheap'.

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"The resources have to be made available to keep people safe," he said.

The Labour leader said today that funding cuts were having a big impact on increasing crime levels across the West Midlands.

"There is no doubt that crime is being made worse by police funding cuts," Mr Corbyn told the Express & Star.

"If you have fewer officers on the beat and then you have slower clear up rates, which becomes part of the problem.

"There are also general issues of dislocation where you close youth centres and dismiss youth workers.

"As a society we have to invest in the police, but we must also invest in what I call the social infrastructure that goes around people's lives."

Mr Jamieson, a long term critic of the Government over force budgets, says WMP has lost £145m over the last eight years.

In the next 12 months frontline police officer numbers across the region are set to fall by 78, despite a £9.5m funding boost achieved by raising the police council tax precept by £12.

And 24 police stations are set to close - including eight in the Black Country - as part of cost-cutting measures to save £5m.

He said today: "It has taken time for crime to start going up, but what we are seeing now is that the police are unable to do the preventative work they were doing previously."

The Government insists it has protected police budgets.

However, in real terms funding was cut by £2.5bn from 2010-2015, with a further £500m slashed since then.

Pete Madeley

By Pete Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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