As a former Home Office Minister I take a particular interest in the levels and causes of crime. It was interesting then to see the impact of the pandemic especially when the economy and society in general was locked down. There was further evidence of rising crime this week with an NFU Mutual report showing rising rural crime including in the Northumbria Police area which includes both urban and rural communities. Many of my constituents care deeply about the countryside and wildlife crime but the truth is wherever we live we all pay a high price for increasing crime. It’s not just rural crime, the numbers show rising violent crime and increases in antisocial behaviour. Which shows it’s right for Northumbria PCC Kim McGuinness to make them her priorities. The common factor in all crime is that there are too few police officers leaving our thin blue line looking thinner. The public want to feel safe and it’s the first job of government to keep them safe. The Government is promising 20,00 new officers but that neither compensates for the numbers lost or for those leaving. When challenged on police numbers recently the Home Secretary – not someone who appreciates criticism – responded by saying police funding was the highest in a decade, forgetting that it has been her party in government throughout the last ten years. One of the lessons of the pandemic has been the importance of local organisations working together and that is also the key to successful crime fighting but we need more cops to do it.