Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer pledges to crack down on drug dealing

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Sir Keir Starmer has pledged that an incoming Labour government would crack down on drug dealing by supporting neighbourhood policing.

Labour has said it will deliver 13,000 additional neighbourhood police and PCSOs to Britain’s streets, and toughen up and extend closure powers for drug dens.

The party wants to provide police with new ‘respect orders’ to target persistent repeat antisocial behaviour offenders.

Speaking on a visit to Grays in Essex, Sir Keir said: “One of the things I think people are very concerned about is antisocial behaviour, particularly in town centres, and also drug dealing in town centres.

“That’s why I’m absolutely clear, particularly having been director of public prosecutions for five years, that an incoming Labour government would crack down on that.”

Keir Starmer visits Thurrock
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer during a visit to Thurrock, Essex, to meet police and community support officers as they outline their plans to tackle local crime (Gareth Fuller/PA)

“People often say to me ‘it’s low level, isn’t it Keir?’,” he said.

“I say no, it blights lives.”

Asked whether police should be paid more, Sir Keir said: “We do need to attract police officers and retain them, and of course pay and conditions is part of that.

“But talking to police officers this morning there’s no shortage of people coming forward to be recruited into the police here in Essex.

“What they want is the respect, the direction, the strategy they need from a government, and an understanding of the role in government in ensuring that crime and disorder goes down, and having confidence in our criminal justice system.”

Yvette Cooper MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, said: “For too long the Conservatives have sat back and allowed criminal gangs to grow – dealing drugs on the streets, in town centres and even outside schools.

“Parents really worry about drug dealers hanging around the school gates or gangs trying to recruit kids into crime.

“We will make sure the police can swiftly target serious or dangerous hotspots to keep communities safe.

“Labour will crack down on the gangs with a tough new law to stop gangs exploiting and grooming children into crime.

“And we will deliver 13,000 extra neighbourhood police and PCSOs on our streets.”

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