Labour 'now party of law and order', says Sir Keir Starmer on Black Country visit

Sir Keir Starmer said Labour has taken over the Tories' mantle as the party of law and order as he called for a crackdown on rising youth crime during a visit to the Black Country.

Sir Keir Starmer in Wolverhampton city centre with Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds and Pc Abigail Chandler
Sir Keir Starmer in Wolverhampton city centre with Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds and Pc Abigail Chandler

On a visit to Wolverhampton, the Labour leader pledged to increase funding and support for services including youth centres and intervention programmes, saying cuts to youth services had fuelled anti-social behaviour and violent crime.

It came as Labour analysis claimed that spending on youth services in the West Midlands had fallen by 80 per cent over the past decade.

Sir Keir went on a short tour of Wolverhampton city centre and spoke with officers at the city's Bilston Street police station.

He told the Express & Star he was committed to boosting support for young people in a bid to curb the "concerning rise" in anti-social behaviour and violent crime.

Sir Keir Starmer visits Wolverhampton city centre
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer during his visit to Wolverhampton

"The Government have now become soft on crime and soft on the causes of crime," Sir Keir said.

"The Conservative Party can no longer be called the party of law and order.

"I was director of public prosecutions for five years and I don't think anyone can accuse me of being soft on crime. We are setting out the support that is needed for our police and our youth services.

Sir Keir Starmer visits Wolverhampton city centre
Sir Keir Starmer joins officers observing a minute's silence for the victims of the Plymouth shooting

"We're strong on crime, and the old phrase, 'tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime' is one that I'll be using over and over again."

Sir Keir insisted there would be "no mixed messages" from Labour on crime, despite some of the party's MPs – as well as former leader Jeremy Corbyn – voicing support for protesters during clashes with police in this year's Kill the Bill demonstrations.

Sir Keir Starmer visits Wolverhampton city centre
Sir Keir Starmer with Nick Thomas-Symonds and Pc Abigail Chandler

"I am very clear that I will support the police in the difficult work that they are doing," he said.

During his visit Sir Keir also addressed the "shocking and tragic" situation in Afghanistan, urging the Prime Minister to "step up to the plate" and prioritise the evacuation of UK nationals and eligible Afghans.

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