The Labour Group on Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has criticised the Conservatives for delaying investment in community safety. Southend Labour welcomed a proposal by the Conservative administration to invest £250,000 in a larger Community Safety Team, but have questioned why the Conservatives rejected this proposal at the budget meeting in February, only to adopt it four months later.
Cllr Matt Dent, Labour councillor for Kursaal ward and Shadow Portfolio Holder for Public Protection, said, "Whilst it might be expected that Labour would oppose a proposal from the Conservative administration, we actually think this is a very good idea. In fact, we thought it was a very good idea when we proposed it as an amendment to the budget back in February. Then, of course, the Conservatives voted to reject an expanded Community Safety Team."
"Whilst we are glad that Cllr Flewitt and his colleagues have changed their minds and now agree with us, the dither and delay shown by the Conservatives demonstrates that they are incapable of dealing with the serious issues that our town faces. Had they embraced this proposal back when we first made it then the new Team would already be in place, and helping to reduce crime in the Borough and make residents feel safer in their homes."
"We've all seen the rise in violent crime in Southend over the last few months, and we've all seen the horrific incidents which have struck at the heart of our community. Whilst this investment will not solve the problem, it will help to begin to tackle some of the problems we face - but we have to ask ourselves whether Conservative delay has allowed the situation to get worse in the meantime?"