Yvette Cooper evokes Blair as she sets out modern ‘bobby on the beat’ vision

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Yvette Cooper revived Tony Blair’s “tough on crime” slogan as she set out Labour’s pledge to recruit 13,000 new neighbourhood officers and her vision for a modernised “bobby on the beat”.

The shadow home secretary unveiled her party’s “neighbourhood policing guarantee” in a keynote speech at the Institute for Government think tank, which she concluded by directly channelling the former prime minister.

The plan would see patrols restored back to town centres, and would ensure “communities and residents know who to turn to when things go wrong, with new statutory responsibilities on forces to protect and deliver neighbourhood policing”.

The new officers, she stressed, would be fit for the modern age.

Ms Cooper said: “Drawing on the traditional core of British policing – the bobby on the beat – but modernised for a new age, equipped with new training and technology so they can use data to target hotspots, react quickly and build partnerships to solve problems.”

“It was right then, it’s right now. It’s what we did then, it’s what we’ll do again.

“Over 13 years the Conservatives have let communities down. Only Labour is the party of law and order now. ”

The plan for extra neighbourhood police officers would be underpinned by new legislation.

Yvette Cooper speech
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper delivers her speech at the Institute for Government think tank in central London (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

“There’s a whole range of areas where they absolutely could be cutting down on waste and making those savings in practice. And as I said, the Police Foundation’s estimate was in fact that the savings will be well over £600 million from these kinds of programmes.”

The shadow home secretary also said in her speech that Labour would “most urgently” introduce new mandatory requirements on vetting, standards, training, and misconduct across the police.

She said: “It means new leadership from a Labour Home Office to set out active strategies in vital areas – including on violence against women and girls, on fraud, on youth violence, on antisocial behaviour.

“And we will work not just with the police and the criminal justice system but with councils, community groups, businesses, the NHS, schools and the voluntary sector.

“And it means reforms right across the criminal justice system, so more criminals can be charged and punished while more victims get justice.”

Home Office minister Chris Philp said: “Labour’s announcement today is over four months old and further evidence of their soft on crime approach – their proposed investment is a tenth of what we are delivering.

“Meanwhile, this Conservative Government is recruiting the most police officers we have ever had, with 20,000 fully funded extra police officers being recruited by April this year, equipped with full powers of arrest.”

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