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Duncan Smith: A Fair Deal for Everyone on Crime and Drugs

Launching the Conservative Party's policy to tackle crime, with Shadow Home Secretary, Oliver Letwin

In 2000, a year-long drug war began around the Chapeltown area of Leeds.

Dozens of people were shot -- many of them were killed.

In the two years that followed, West Yorkshire police arrested more than 400 people, found dozens of guns, and seized £2 million worth of hard drugs.

But crime continues to blight too many lives in Leeds.

In the past year, burglaries in Leeds have risen by 15% - that's seven times faster than the national average.

Violent assaults are up by 17%.

And robberies are up by 45%!

And the threat of drugs remains ever-present.

63 abandoned needles are recovered in Leeds city centre every day.

And the Chief Inspector of West Yorkshire police has warned that, despite progress on gun and gang violence, 'drug dealing is on the increase'.

This is not only happening in Leeds. It is happening throughout this country.

Nationally, drug offences rose by 16% last year.

Violent crime was up 20%.

And gun crimes were up 35%.

And it's not as if last year was just a bad year.

Overall, gun crime in Britain has risen by 80% since 1997.

These figures are shocking enough.

But behind them are real stories of fear, pain and tragedy.

Crime is infecting our nation - and hard drugs are making our condition worse.

The Conservative Party is not going to stand by and watch as people's lives are ruined by crime and drugs.

These are two battles we have to win - because only then can we give a fair deal to the people of Chapeltown and to people like them across Britain - in Hackney, Gallowgate, Moss Side, Easterhouse.

So - Two aims.

And two remedies.

One - the next Conservative Government will put 40,000 more police on our streets - enough to bring real neighbourhood policing to Britain.

That means we'll have enough police to tackle not only serious crime - the shootings, the robberies, the assaults…

…but also the offences we've been forced to accept as part of everyday life - the anti-social behaviour, the vandalism, the petty crime…

…the things that chip away at our confidence, and turn our neighbourhoods into ghettoes.

Two - the next Conservative government will expand the number of hard drug rehabilitation places available to young people from under two thousand to over twenty thousand.

That means we'll have enough places in rehab for every young hard drug addict in Britain.

As Jim Doherty, whom I met in Gallowgate, warned me:

"We have already lost our children's generation to drugs. The battle we're fighting now is to save our grandchildren."

It's a battle we must win.

Because these young people are victims.

And they deserve to start adult life with a clean slate . . . and clean from drugs.

The point about these two policies is that it's no longer good enough simply to contain the problems of crime and drugs.

We have to defeat them.

We believe Britain needs 40,000 more police officers to help defeat crime.

So that's what we are going to provide.

And we believe that Britain's children need more help to defeat drugs.

So that's what we are going to give them.

Getting behind the police officers who are fighting crime on our streets…

And getting our young people off drugs and off the conveyor belt to crime…

A fair deal for victims of crime…

And a fair deal for victims of drugs…

That's what Britain needs.

A fair deal for everyone.

And that's what we are going to deliver.

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