The Government’s measures to tackle antisocial behaviour are not making any difference, Sir Keir Starmer said, as he portrayed Labour as “very much the party of law and order”.
Both main parties have put crime-fighting plans at the heart of their campaigns to snap up votes in May’s local elections.
He told broadcasters during a visit to East Lancashire: “The Government sometimes likes to pretend that it doesn’t really exist or it doesn’t really impact on people.
“I profoundly disagree.”
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last week announced a set of measures to crack down on antisocial behaviour, including a laughing gas ban, trials of swifter justice measures and increased policing in areas of England and Wales deemed to have high amounts of low-level crime.
But Sir Keir said the Government had not gone far enough.
“Talk to people anywhere, Burnley or anywhere across the country, and they would say after 13 years we’re in a position where antisocial behaviour still hasn’t been dealt with.
“They’re pretty fed up with the Government and they don’t think that the measures the Government’s put in place are making any difference.”
Sir Keir repeated Labour’s promise to put 13,000 police and community support officers in neighbourhood roles “so they know their patch, they can deal with the preventative stuff, but also enforcement”.
Echoing former prime minister Sir Tony Blair’s “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” rhetoric from the 1990s, Sir Keir said his party was “very much the party of law and order” as it understands “the impact that crime has on the lives of so many people across the country”.
But policing minister Chris Philp described the neighbourhood pledge as “weak” and “the latest evidence (Labour) are soft on crime and soft on criminals”.
Sir Keir was visiting Burnley College to see how sports projects can help keep young people from falling into crime.
Labour is hoping to benefit in England’s May 4 local elections as the Tories continue to lag far behind in national polls.