Yvette Cooper – 2016 Speech at Labour Party Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by Yvette Cooper at the Labour Party conference held in Liverpool on 28 September 2016.

Think on two children.

Aged ten and nine. Primary school children by the side of a busy road.

A ten year old who’s father was killed when extremists took hold of their village.

Whose mother paid smugglers to take the boys away.

They live on their own in a muddy tent.

And each night they run along the side of a motorway – waiting for a lorry going slow enough to climb aboard.

They are scared.

And they should be.

Two weeks ago a fourteen year-old fell off the lorry he clung to and was hit by a car.

Killed, trying to reach his brother in Britain.

He had a legal right to be here, yet he lived for months in danger and squalor.

And he died by the side of a road. How have we let this happen?

Sometimes people say to me this is not our problem. Just walk by on the other side of the road.

But these are children whose lives are at stake, someone’s young son, someone’s teenage daughter.

Our children.

Our common humanity.

Conference on suffering children, this country and this party must never turn our backs.

And I want to pay tribute to those who are working so hard to help.

To all the community groups and organisations we have worked with in the Refugee Taskforce, to Save the Children, Citizens UK, Help Refugees, UNICEF, the Churches, the Synagogues and Mosques, Care4Calais groups in towns and Cities across the UK.

To thank Jeremy and Tom, Andy Burnham and Kate Osamor for the support they have given and continue to give to the Refugee Taskforce’s work. To Stella Creasy and Thangam Debbonaire who’ve played such important roles.

To thank the councils across the country encouraged by Nick Forbes who have stepped forward and said yes we will help,

And the campaigners from all parties who worked with us to change the law

A promise to do our bit, just as our country did when we rescued 10,000 Jewish children from the Nazis in Europe.

Alf Dubs was one of those children, six years old, put on a train in Prague bound for England to escape the war. Three quarters of a century on.

Alf, lifelong campaigner for social justice, Labour councillor, Labour MP then Labour Lord, each time leading the way with his amendment so that Britain does its bit again to help a new generation of child refugees.

Giving them the new future our country gave him.

For them, and for all of us,

Lord Alf Dubs – We pay tribute to you today.

This is a global crisis we face. Across the world 65 million people driven from their homes by conflict or persecution. You will hear the Government talk of the pull factor. What of the push factor? See the pictures from Aleppo.

Bombs launched by the Syrian regime that rip through reinforced concrete, creating craters twenty metres wide. So there is no bunker, no cellar in which families can hide

No wonder they run.

Most incredible of all are those who stay – the doctors who stay to treat the wounded. The white helmets who stay to rescue those left alive. On Saturday, our Conference remembered the humanitarian work Jo Cox fought for throughout her life.

And today I also want to pay tribute to Jo’s family, who through their support of the White Helmets keep Jo’s work alive now. No country can solve this alone, but every country needs to play its part:

No one says it is easy.

People are worried about security, worried that the system can be abused or will be out of control.

And we should be clear.

Helping refugees doesn’t mean open borders.

We need strong border checks to stop smuggler gangs, criminals and extremists exploiting the crisis.

We need fast and robust asylum procedures so that refugees get swift help and illegal migrants have to return so that everyone can have faith in the system

We need proper integration plans for refugees and their families.

But conference, immigration and asylum are different – too often the Government treats them as the same.

Many people I have spoken to who want more controls on the number of people who come here to work, also think we should our bit to help those fleeing persecution who have no safe home to which they can return.

Refugees are less than 5 percent of those who come to our country.

So we should never let fear of the difficult politics of immigration paralyse us from helping refugees.

But nor must we be paralysed from debating immigration reform either – or our tin ear to the concerns of the country will stop others listening to our case for helping refugees.

Just as people want to know the asylum system is fair, managed and controlled

They want to know that the immigration system is too.

And it isn’t racist to talk about how best every country manages migration or to say that whilst immigration is important, low skilled migration should come down.

And saying this should not spark a row it should open up the debate.

In the referendum people voted against free movement. But there is no consensus over what people voted for.

Between cities and towns,

Between Scotland and England,

Young and old,

And we should be part of a serious, thoughtful debate on what fair rules should be,

We cannot do that if we dig in from the start. But here’s what we must never do.

We won’t use fear on immigration as reason not to help those most in need,

We won’t call people “swarms” or “hoards” – they are mothers, fathers and children.

And we will never ever do what Nigel Farage did in the referendum campaign and use a poster of desperate people to stoke fear and hatred.

That man should be ashamed.

So conference, our country rightly leads the way with international aid.

I am glad the Conservative Government has maintained that commitment

And proud that it was Labour campaigners many years ago who set the aid target, and the last Labour Government who brought it in.

But on sanctuary our country isn’t doing enough.

Just 3,000 of the promised 20,000 Syrian refugees have come. After the Dubs amendment, so far no children from Greece or Italy have been helped.

And Calais should be a scar on the conscience of both France and Britain.

Ten thousand people. One thousand children alone.

Scabies rife. Violence and sectarianism in camp. Lorry drivers facing intimidation and serious safety threats.

No one assessing asylum cases, no one protecting the children.

This is a shameful failure by the French authorities in the basic duty to keep children safe. But Britain has a responsibility too. Hundreds of those children have family in Britain, but they are still stuck waiting months.The foot dragging, the bureaucracy, the delays are a disgrace.

So Conference, we should support the contemporary resolution today. And Parliament should back Alf Dubs new amendment – drafted by Stella Creasy – to bring in safeguarding for child refugees.

France plans to dismantle the camp moving people to accommodation centres across the country. But there are no places being provided for lone children.

Last time the authorities cleared part of the camp, over a hundred children just disappeared.

So let each country now agree to take half the lone children straight away.

Let’s get all of these children into safety fast while their assessments are done, so there is no child left alone in the Calais mud and cold by the time Christmas comes.

Because this stalemate over children is dangerous.

France says its Britain’s problem

Britain says it’s up to the French

I am sick of this standoff. Children’s lives and safety are at risk.

Both Governments need to get a grip and act.

Conference, I’ve heard from child and teenage refugees who want to be engineers, scientists, doctors, footballers.

But the one who surprised me was a teenager helped by Citizens UK and our political campaign, who said he wants to get involved in politics.

He said politics destroyed his country, but politics also saved his life.

Now he wants to help, to give something back, just as Alf has done so many years on.

Because politics matters. So if ever you despair at the state of our politics even the divisions you think there are in our party.

If ever you think of walking away,

If ever you want to know why so many of us carry on,

Think of him and the children we can help,

Think of him and the lives Labour Governments have saved,

Think of him, of Alf, the Kindertransport,

of future doctors, poets, nobel laureates,

husbands, sisters, mothers, children.

Of the amazing things we can do together, the people we can help, the amazing things that Labour can do.

Conference – that’s what our politics is all about.

Yvette Cooper – 1997 Maiden Speech to the House of Commons


Below is the text of the maiden speech made by Yvette Cooper to the House of Commons on 2 July 1997.

Mr. Deputy Speaker, thank you for calling me during this historic debate. I am honoured to be uttering my very first words in the House on behalf of the people of Pontefract and Castleford on Budget day. This is Labour’s first Budget for 18 years—and what a Budget. It is hard to know where to begin: resources for education and health, help for the young and for the long-term unemployed, measures to calm growth in consumption, boost for investment or help with child care.

It is also an honour to conclude the debate today, and to hear so many maiden speeches. We have had such speeches from my hon. Friends the Members for Enfield, North (Ms Ryan), for Redditch (Jacqui Smith), for Eastwood (Mr. Murphy) and for Brentford and Isleworth (Mrs. Keen), and from the hon. Members for Witney (Mr. Woodward), for Weston-super-Mare (Mr. Cotter) and for North Norfolk (Mr. Prior). We have had a tour of the country, and we have heard how the Budget will affect people across Britain. It is truly a people’s Budget.

Almost 100 years ago, Lloyd George launched his people’s Budget for this century. Now we have a new people’s Budget to begin the next century. I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Chancellor on a wise and radical Budget. It faces up to the long-term problems of the British economy. It also takes immediate steps to tackle some of the deep-rooted inequalities faced by my constituents.

I represent a corner of West Yorkshire which is proud of its industrial heritage and its hard-working people; the liquorice fields and factories of Pontefract; the potteries of Castleford; the pits—the heart and belly of the constituency; the power station at Ferrybridge; the glassworks and the chemical works of Knottingley and Castleford; and, near the corner of Normanton that I represent, a Japanese electronics factory.

These past two decades have been hard times in my constituency. Many of the pits are now closed, jobs in traditional industries have gone and, most important, we lack new investment and help to reskill the work force to generate new jobs to replace the old ones that have gone.

I must report to the House that 2,600 people in my constituency are officially unemployed: a third of them have been unemployed for more than a year. The number of people not working, either because they have been forced into early retirement or on to sickness benefit, is much higher. Too many of my constituent have not had their fair share of opportunities to learn and to obtain the qualifications that they need to prosper in a modern economy. That matters for the future, as one generation follows in the footsteps of another. Evidence shows that the chance of the sons and daughters of miners in my constituency becoming high earners when they grow up is a mere tenth of that of the sons and daughters of well-educated and wealthy professionals. That figure is shocking.

The House must not misunderstand me. It is true that my constituency is plagued by unemployment, but I represent hard-working people who are proud of their strong communities and who have fought hard across generations to defend them. They are proud of their socialist traditions, and have fought for a better future for their children and their grandchildren. In the middle ages, that early egalitarian, the real Robin Hood, lived, so we maintain, in the vale of Wentbridge to the south of Pontefract. It was a great base from which to hassle the travelling fat cats on the Great North road.

Centuries later, Pontefract became home to another true fighter for social justice, Barbara Castle. In her autobiography, she describes her politicisation during the miners lock-out in 1921. Through the years, my constituency has been home to other Members who have fought hard for the working people whom they represent in nearby constituencies, including the former Member for Hemsworth, Derek Enright, and my hon. Friend the Member for Normanton (Mr. O’Brien), who has helped me so much in these early months.

The people of Pontefract and Castleford owe most to the man who represented them for the past 19 years, and who battled hard for their welfare, Sir Geoffrey Lofthouse, now Lord Lofthouse of Pontefract. I know that hon. Members will join me in paying tribute to someone who, as a former Deputy Speaker, worked hard for the House, was fair and honourable, and, above all, was a kind man. He governed the House, which can sometimes be rowdy and alarming, with a firm but fair hand.

For some, the traditional tribute to a predecessor is something to be swallowed swiftly, got over as fast as possible. For me, it is an honour and a privilege to be able to pay that tribute on behalf of the House and the people of Pontefract and Castleford to Sir Geoff, as he is known locally.

Sir Geoff was a well-loved constituency Member of Parliament. Like my grandfather, he began his working life in the pits as a teenager. The mischievous among his Pontefract friends describe him as a corner-stint man, but they would never use the same phrase to describe his commitment to his constituents. His proudest achievement was his work for the welfare of the miners with whom he served for so long, getting emphysema recognised as an industrial disease.

I pay a personal tribute to him, too, for Sir Geoff has been extremely supportive during these curious first months here. I hope that we can continue to work together for the people of Pontefract and Castleford, a partnership which I hope echoes the strength of this new Government, young and old, energy and experience, women and men, across the country and across the generations working together for common goals. The Budget gives us the chance to achieve those goals.

More important to my constituents than anything else will be the new deal for the unemployed. In Pontefract and Castleford we are raring to go. Already, the Groundwork Trust in Castleford has approached me with a proposal for an environmental task force. We hope to encourage young unemployed people in some of the highest areas of unemployment in our constituency—in Knottingley and on the Airdale estate in Castleford—to join regeneration projects that are already planned. That way, they can take their first steps into the world of work straight from their own doorstep, be part of rebuilding their own troubled estates, learning transferable skills and building their own personal pride in their environment and in their work.

We think that this is such a good idea that we are not even waiting for the windfall tax money to come through. A local partnership is already drawing up a proposal for European money, and I hope that we will provide a successful model for the rest of the country to follow. At the same time, Wakefield council is itching to expand on its successful job subsidy programme, Workline, which it has been operating for the past 11 years. Employers there have a year-long subsidy of up to £40 a week to take on unemployed workers.

I asked one employer involved whether he would have taken someone on anyway. After all, his business was expanding. He told me two interesting things. The first was that the subsidy encouraged him to take on a new employee a year earlier than he would otherwise have done. The second was that, without the subsidy, he would not have considered taking on someone who was unemployed. There, in that one anecdote, was the proof that such a job subsidy can speed up job creation and help people in most danger of being locked outside the work force, trapped on the dole, into jobs.

That is important because it means that the new deal gives us a chance to tackle the long-term roots of inequality—people who are trapped on the dole in my constituency. Moreover, by helping those who find it hardest to get work, the new deal also boosts the capacity of the economy. That means that, as the economy grows, instead of running into the old inflationary buffers, as so often happens, we can have growth that creates jobs and more jobs, because we have boosted the capacity. That is the Budget’s greatest strength. At the same time as controlling consumer demand and stopping it expanding too fast, the Budget is boosting the supply side to try to raise Britain’s long-term sustainable rate of growth.

I hope that the new deal will receive support from both sides of the House, because it is about our future. In Pontefract and Castleford, I found enthusiasm for these proposals on both sides of the political spectrum.

As recently as Monday morning, a small business man came into my surgery. He admitted to being one of the few people in the area who had voted Conservative for 30 years—until the recent election. However, he said that he was delighted with what he had seen about Labour’s plans for young people. He said that he wanted to take on three young unemployed people, asked when they could start, and where should he sign. His enthusiasm was infectious, and I hope that such enthusiasm will encourage more small businesses, both in my constituency and throughout the country, to take up the challenge to provide a new deal for the unemployed. It is something which we all need to work on together.

I am sure that that man will be even more delighted now that he has heard my right hon. Friend’s Budget. It truly is a people’s Budget—a Budget for social justice and for Britain’s future. Tough choices have to be made, but they will generate results in the long run.

Keynes said: In the long run we are all dead”— but I say, “So what?” Our children and our grandchildren will still be alive. Therefore, for the people of Pontefract and Castleford and for their children and grandchildren, I welcome the Budget.

Yvette Cooper – 2015 Speech on Syrian Air Strikes


Below is the text of the speech made by Yvette Cooper in the House of Commons on 2 December 2015.

No Parliament ever takes a more serious decision than what we should do to protect the security and safety of our nation and whether to put our forces in harm’s way. I know that every Member of the House will be weighing that decision very seriously, not least because the truth is that we have got those decisions wrong before, and our Governments have got those decisions wrong before, when we went into Iraq in 2003, but also when we failed to intervene early enough in Bosnia a decade before that.

Since the Prime Minister made his case last Thursday, I have raised a series of questions and sought a series of assurances, some of which I have received and some of which I have not. I do not believe that the Prime Minister has made the most effective case, and so I understand why many in this House feel that they are not yet convinced, but I also feel that I cannot say that the coalition airstrikes that are already under way in both Syria and Iraq should stop. If they are not going to stop, and France has asked for our help, I do not think that we can say no. I think that changes need to be made to the Government’s approach, and I will argue for them. I think that there are more limits in the approach they need to take, but I will also vote with the Government on the motion tonight, even though I recognise how difficult that is for so many of us.

The whole House, I think, agrees that we need a strategy that delivers peace and defeats ISIS/Daesh, but I disagree with any suggestion that this can be done as an ISIS-first, or Daesh-first, approach, because that simply will not work. In the end, we know that the Vienna process—the process to replace the Assad regime, which is dropping barrel bombs on so many innocent people across Syria—is crucial to preventing recruitment for ISIS. If we or the coalition are seen somehow to be siding with Assad or strengthening Assad, that will increase recruitment for Daesh as well.

I disagree with the suggestion that there are 70,000 troops who are going to step in and that the purpose of the airstrikes is to provide air cover for those troops to be able to take on and defeat Daesh, because that is not going to happen any time soon. We know that there are not such forces anywhere near Raqqa. We know too that those forces are divided. The airstrikes will not be part of an imminent decisive military campaign.

But I also disagree with those who say that instead of “ISIS first”, we should have “Vienna first”, and wait until the peace process is completed in order to take airstrike action against Daesh. I think the coalition airstrikes are still needed. We know that ISIS is not going to be part of the peace process: it will not negotiate; it is a death cult that glorifies suicide and slaughter. We know too that it has continuous ambitions to expand and continuous ambitions to attack us and attack our allies—to have terror threats not just in Paris, not just in Tunisia, but all over the world, anywhere that it gets the chance. It holds oil, territory and communications that it wants to use to expand. The coalition cannot simply stand back and give it free rein while we work on that vital peace process.

Coalition airstrikes already involve France, Turkey, Jordan, the US, Morocco, Bahrain and Australia. If we have evidence that communication networks are being used to plan attacks in Paris, Berlin, Brussels or London, can we really say that such coalition airstrikes should not take place to take out those communication networks? If we have evidence that supply routes are being used by this barbaric regime to plan to take over more territory and expand into a wider area, do we really think that coalition airstrikes should not take out those supply routes? If we think that coalition airstrikes should continue, can we really say no, when France, having gone through the terrible ordeal of Paris, says it wants our help in continuing the airstrikes now?

I have continually argued in this place and elsewhere for our country to do far more to share in the international support for refugees fleeing the conflict. I still think we should do much more, not just leave it to other countries. The argument about sanctuary also applies to security. I do not think that we can leave it to other countries to take the strain. I cannot ignore the advice from security experts that without coalition airstrikes over the next 12 months, the threat from Daesh—in the region, but also in Europe and in Britain—will be much greater.

I think we have to do our bit to contain the threat from Daesh: not to promise that we can defeat or overthrow it in the short term, because we cannot do so, but at least to contain it. It is also important to ensure we degrade its capacity to obliterate the remaining moderate and opposition forces, however big they may be. When the Vienna process gets moving properly, there must be some opposition forces; the peace debate cannot simply involve Assad and Daesh as the only forces left standing, because that will never bring peace and security to the region.

If we are to do our bit and to take the strain, we need more limited objectives than those the Prime Minister has set out—to act in self-defence and to support the peace process, but not just to create a vacuum for Assad to sweep into. That makes the imperative to avoid civilian casualties even greater. Where there is any risk that people are being used as human shields to cover targets, such airstrikes should not go ahead however important the targets. It makes the imperative of civilian protection even greater, but that is not mentioned in the Government’s motion. It should be the central objective not just for humanitarian reasons—to end the refugee crisis—but to prevent the recruitment that fuels ISIS.

I also think there should be time limits, because I do not support an open-ended commitment to airstrikes until Daesh is defeated—the Foreign Secretary raised that yesterday—because if it is not working in six months or if it proves counterproductive, we should be ready to review this, and we should also be ready to withdraw. We will need to review this. I think we should lend the Government support tonight and keep it under review, not give them an open-ended commitment that this should carry on whatever the consequences.

Finally, I say to the Government that I accept their argument that if we want coalition airstrikes on an international basis, we should be part of that, but I urge them to accept my argument that we should do more to be part of providing sanctuary for refugees fleeing the conflict. There are no easy answers, but I also say, in the interests of cohesion in our politics and in our country, that the way in which we conduct this debate is immensely important. However we vote tonight, none of us is a terrorist sympathiser and none of us will have blood on our hands. The blood has been drawn by ISIS/Daesh in Paris and across the world, and that is who we must stand against.

Yvette Cooper – 2013 Speech to the Police Federation


Below is the text of the speech made by Yvette Cooper, the Shadow Home Secretary, to the Police Federation Conference in Bournemouth on 14th May 2013.

Thank you for that welcome John.

It’s a pleasure to be at the Police Federation conference – and to have been following it so far on Twitter.

It’s impressive the way police have embraced twitter as a public forum for debate and also to get out the message on missing persons or public order.

My experience on Twitter has not been quite so successful. I was once excited to find I was trending. Not so excited to find I had managed to tweet from my handbag:


Retweeted many times. Sometimes with a sympathetic comment. Mostly with something along the lines of “what a change to hear a politician talking sense”.

That I suspect is your concern at the Police Federation whenever you have politicians addressing you too.

Your theme this year, 20/20 Vision, Policing the Future Together, is the right one.

Because I don’t believe there is a vision for policing right now

And I think one is needed.

But let me first pay tribute to those police officers lost in service this year

In September the whole of Manchester, and indeed the whole country paid tribute to the bravery of PC Fiona Bone and PC Nicola Hughes

Murdered answering a routine 999 call.

Murdered because they were police officers.

We remember too 

Inspector Preston Gurr, DC Adele Cashman, PC Andrew Bramma, PC Bruce Stevenson, PC Steve Rawson, Sgt Ian Harman.

And we should pay special tribute to the remarkable bravery of PC Ian Dibell.

Off duty. And yes, he ran towards danger not away from it. Fatally shot because he went to help others. Proof that a determined police officer is never off duty. Someone the whole country should honour for the bravery he showed to protect us all.

And we’ve seen how the policing family also stand together in tough times. The support I know the Police Federation has shown to the families of those who lost their lives.

And the determination to keep their memories alive.

And a particular thanks to Fed Rep Steve Philips, who has done a charity run from Manchester to Bournemouth, over six days, to raise money for the North West Police Benevolent Fund and the Care of Police Survivors charity in honour of PC Bone and PC Hughes.

I also want to pay tribute to someone I know will be missed here in this hall, who spent his life fighting for British policing and British police officers.

A good man who always had a serious and thoughtful contribution to make to any policing debate. Someone who loved life – which makes it so tragic he has lost it. Many of us know we miss a friend as well as a colleague. I would like to pay tribute and say thank you to a great champion of British policing, Paul McKeever.

And he is also best remembered through his own words, in his last interview with the Fed magazine. They sum up both Paul and Paul’s vision of policing.

When asked what stood out for him in 35 years as a police officer, Paul describes very poignantly taking the father of a young man killed in a motorcycle accident to identify his son in St Thomas’s, and he describes with great sympathy the pain and devastation for a man who has lost a son, then he says “that to me encapsulated the rawness of humanity and the rawness of some of the situations we have to deal with. It’s not just the physicality of dealing with the crime scene, it’s dealing with people”.

And Paul is right.

Policing is a unique public service.

Yes the bravery and the unknown risk – as PC Dibbell, PC Bone and PC Hughes showed us.

Yes fighting crime, catching criminals.

But so much more than that.

Picking up the pieces of people’s broken lives.

And we should thank every officer out there on duty today, who is doing exactly that.

When I first addressed your Conference, two years ago, I said we supported your calls for a Royal Commission or proper review of policing in this country, on how we could work together to prepare a police service truly fit for the 21st century.

When the Government did not agree, we set up the Independent Review into the Future of Policing, chaired by Lord John Stevens. That review is now in its final stages, and it will report in the coming months.

The Review has reached out to over 30,000 officers and staff.

With surveys of staff, evidence from officers, partners, local communities, businesses, members of the public and academia.

I can’t pre-empt the conclusions that they reach. But I want to say a bit about why it matters given the challenges policing faces:

– plummeting morale

– scale of cuts

– chaotic reforms and fragmentation

– policies which risk making it harder not easier to do the job

– and that crucial lack of vision to tackle the challenges of the future

For a start I think it is serious that policing morale has plummeted in the last few years.

You will have seen some of the review research.

Over half of officers and 40 per cent of police staff say they are considering leaving policing.

Officers feeling they could not influence decisions or unhappy about the structure of career progression, or under pressure over pay or pension changes.

Over 90 per cent responding, feeling they were not valued by the Government.

That matters.

It’s not just a problem for the Police Federation, Chief Constables or the Home Secretary.

It’s a problem for all of us.

When policing is under such strain from resource cuts, we need more than ever to have determined, motivated, valued police officers, able to go the extra mile.

British policing relies on the strength and dedication of officers and staff.

That’s why we need better training, support, career development.

But the Government’s reforms are confused. They talk about talents and experience, but they cut starting salaries and make it harder for people with mortgages, experience or families to join the workplace.

We support the College of Policing and think there is much more that it could do.

But that’s not enough.

The police are the public and the public are the police.

Far more women now join the police. But too few make it up through the ranks.

Parents and carers are finding their family friendly working has been ditched as shifts are restructured to meet the cuts.

And too few black and minority ethnic officers being recruited.

And too few black and minority ethnic officers stay on.

We need a police force that is properly rooted in and representative of the communities it serves.

And we need officers who feel valued, well managed and well motivated, with the discretion to get on a do a good job.

We need Government to recognise the value of the job they do.

The second problem has been the scale of cuts.

As you know, we said from the start that 20 per cent cuts went too far and too fast – and we supported 12 per cent cuts instead.

And we are seeing the consequences.

11,500 officers cut already.

At least 15,000 to go in total.

These huge cuts are starting to hollow out policing.

Having to do less with less.

Crime falling more slowly.

But justice falling too.

For ten years while crime came down, we saw a higher proportion of crimes solved, and more offenders brought to justice.

Yet now we are seeing the opposite.

200,000 fewer arrests.

30,000 fewer cases solved

Officers I’ve spoken to know they can’t make arrests because too few officers on the streets and it will take them off the streets for too long when other problems might kick off.

Officers who have told me they’ve had to use Community Resolutions to write cases off – even when they know the crime is serious because they haven’t the time and resources to follow it up.

A quote from an officer who had to write to local businesses and residents to raise the money for a car, “at present we have to rely on lifts from our colleagues in marked vehicles, a pool car, public transport and regularly walking two miles to the nearest point or 10 miles to the farthest point.”

Doesn’t look much like the 21st century does it? Officers thumbing a lift down the dual carriage way to get to the scene of the crime.

Theresa May’s failure to fight for policing in the first spending review hit policing and justice hard.

And with the second spending review looming – they need to do a better job.

It is clear that all those promises the Government made that these cuts would get the deficit down have fallen through because they couldn’t get growth.

Now it looks as though policing and communities will pay the price for the Government’s economic failure again.

But the problem is not just about resources it is about the chaotic nature of reforms and fragmentation that are making it harder not easier for the police to do more with less.

Policing needs to keep reforming to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

But too often the Government’s reforms have been chaotic, piecemeal and confused, creating greater fragmentation and rearranging the deckchairs rather than creating a strong sense of direction and purpose.

Consider Theresa May’s flagship reform, the Police and Crime Commissioners she said would secure “a strong democratic mandate from the ballot box”.

Instead, she spent £100 million on shambolic elections and only one in eight people turned out to vote.

Reforms are needed, but they shouldn’t waste money or create confusion.

They need to be rooted in a positive vision of policing for the future.

That is why the Stevens Review is looking at the different responses needed at local, regional, national and international level to deal with changing patterns of crime and disorder.

And making sure that the great achievements of neighbourhood policing introduced over the last fifteen years are not lost – embedding police properly in local communities, working in partnership to prevent crime and keep order not just flying in to the 999 emergency call.

Many police officers have told me that the Crime and Disorder Act in the late 90s was the most important and powerful reforming legislation on crime in decades. Because it forced not just the police but local councils, probation, the NHS, community organisations to work in partnership to tackle crime.

Yet too many organisations are pulling back and pulling in – retreating to their core business, just when we need partnership more than ever. We need a new push for partnership in leaner times if we are to keep communities safe.

For example we do need a clearer framework for raising standards and taking action when things go wrong.

When things go wrong – as they did so terribly at Hillsborough – we need proper transparent investigations that can get swiftly to the truth, rather than denying victims justice for years, and also casting a shadow over policing too.

That’s why we’ve asked the Stevens review to look at a better framework for standards, inspection and complaints to make sure mistakes are learnt from and not repeated too. How we set up a new Police Standards Authority to replace the IPCC.

But let me say something two area of reforms I know many Federation members are concerned about at the moment.

First compulsory severance, and second private contracting.

I think everyone would agree that standards of policing need to be upheld, and officers need to maintain a proper level of training, skills and ethical standards to do the job. And of course they can’t stay if they don’t.

But I have three concerns about the major changes to the Office of Constable built into the Government’s approach.

First, I fear that this is just a cover for more cuts. You have to wonder why the Government are in such a rush to do this in time for the spending review.

Second, there are insufficient safeguards to prevent abuse or the appearance of abuse in the new climate. If Police and Crime Commissioners can sack Chiefs and Chiefs can sack everyone else with very few safeguards in place, the principle of the independent office of Constable is fundamentally changing.

And that is not something that should be done in such a reckless way.

My third concern is that there was a compact on policing which is being carelessly ripped up without consultation. Police officers can rightly be summoned on duty at any time, as the service of last resort, with few industrial rights. In return police officers had the unique responsibility of the Office of Constable, valued by government and with no compulsory severance.

I never supported the right to strike for police officers and I don’t now. But I do think the Government needs to show respect for the Office of Constable in return.

Did anything exemplify the Office of Constable more than going the extra mile to deliver a safe Olympics?

Officers came to London at short notice, had leave cancelled, holiday re-arranged, personal lives disrupted again, families putting up with it.

And that disruption was made worse when a private contract badly failed.

Yet Ministers are pushing for big private contracts to replace much of the work police do. Nothing ruled out. Not even detective work or neighbourhood patrols.

Massive contracts with single companies for complex work.

And many forces are looking at how to use it for the police.

Be clear, public private partnerships can be valuable – new contracts will be needed for example on information technology.

But contracts must pass tough tests:

– On value for money.

– On resilience and security.

– On transparency and accountability.

– And most of all on public trust.

For the Labour Party, and for people across the country, there are red lines – or perhaps we should say blue lines.

Policing by consent means the police need the confidence of the public.

And the public need to trust that policing is being done in the interests of the justice not the corporate balance sheet.

We should be blunt about this. We don’t want private companies patrolling the public streets of Britain, we want police officers and PCSOs doing the job.

The Government’s job is also to make it easier not harder for the police to do their job.

Too often the reverse is happening.

The DNA of 4,000 rape suspects being destroyed – even though we know rape is a hard crime to solve.

And under their new plans ASBOs will no longer include any criminal sanction if they are breached.

And worst of all, they want to ditch the European Arrest Warrant just because it has Europe in the title.

This is the real consequence of the Conservative party’s frenzy and infighting over Europe.

The European Arrest Warrant allowed us to swiftly deport 900 foreign citizens suspected of crimes in their own country.

And it helped us catch terrorists, kidnappers and serious criminals who fled abroad and bring them back to face justice.

This weekend Spanish police tracked down and arrested Andrew Moran – the Salford man who has been on the run for four years after a £25,000 armed robbery involving guns and a machete.

He was found sunbathing in a villa in Alicante.

Under the European Arrest Warrant he was rapidly arrested and should shortly be returned home.

But remember Ronnie Knight the East End armed robber.

He fled to the Spanish coast too – before the European arrest warrant came in.

He spent his time sunbathing in a luxury villa down the coast from Alicante in Fuengirola.

But unlike Andrew Moran he didn’t have to hide or change his appearance. He opened an Indian Restaurant and R Knights nightclub.

Because we could not get the Spanish police to arrest him and we could not get the Spanish courts to send him home.

The Home Secretary needs to listen to the police and to the evidence on the European Arrest Warrant, not to the hysteria of Tory backbenchers.

If they decide sound tough on everything with Europe in the title, the Government will end up being soft on crime.

Be it about policies on crime, chaotic reforms, resources or morale, in the end the real problem remains in your conference title – where is the 2020 vision?

And where is the plan for policing together for the future?

I don’t believe this Government has a vision for policing.

We want to build a vision for policing with you. Together.

That in the end was what we set up the Stevens commission for. We will look forward to its conclusions.

Building on the international reputation that British policing can be proud of.

From forensics to neighbourhood policing, from counter terror to the Olympics, decade after decade this country has led the way. We want to do so again.

Reforming together.

Protecting the public together.

Cutting crime and getting justice for victims together.

But only if we have the vision of policing together – 2020 policing.

Yvette Cooper – 2012 Speech to Labour Party Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by Yvette Cooper, the Shadow Home Secretary, to Labour Party conference on 30th September 2012.

Conference, we have heard in today’s debate from delegates on a range of issues, from diversity in our Party and the challenges faced by women, to the impact of the Government’s policies on disabled people.

But Conference, we, in this Party will not just be debating equality today.

Yesterday, 800 women gathered for Labour’s Annual Women’s Conference.

Tomorrow when we debate the economy, we’ll talk about child care, jobs for young people and support for disabled workers.

On Tuesday our Party Leader Ed Miliband, who has done such a great job for our Party this year, will talk about making the economy work for everyone not just the privileged few.

And on Wednesday and Thursday we’ll debate our public services.

The importance of Sure Start in giving all kids a better start in life.

And the future of our NHS – one of the most important institutional embodiments of fairness and equality in British society. One of Labour’s proudest achievements, now under threat from the Tories. An institution that we will strain every sinew to defend.

And Conference, as we talk about equality, not just today, but throughout the week, we’ll also talk about why the police need to challenge racism and pursue hate crimes which have been rising.

And we will remember that in six weeks the country will vote for the Government’s new Police and Crime Commissioners. Our chance to send a message to the Tories about policing.

But also an important campaign in Bedfordshire, where we are backing Olly Martin’s campaign against a candidate from the EDL.

Because Conference we must never, never let policing be taken over by racists or extremists. Policing must be fair for all.

Conference, all week we will talk about Labour’s belief in fairness, in justice, in equal life chances, equal respect for individuals, wherever they come from, whatever their background.

And our anger that this Government time and again is turning the clock back, widening the gap. Reinforcing, rather than challenging discrimination.

Look at the way unemployment among young black men has reached over 50 per cent.

Look at the way David Cameron is taking more money from disabled people than he is from the banks.

Look at the way 80 per cent of the rise in long term unemployment is among women.

And the way the squeeze on child care, social care, and universal credit are all penalising women who work.

And with women bearing the brunt of the tax and unemployment changes, we, Conference, are more proud than ever, because it is more important than ever, that we now have the first woman General Secretary of the TUC – who made a fabulous speech at Labour’s Women’s Conference yesterday – Frances O’Grady.

Sometimes it is the double discrimination that is hardest.

For example, for older women, who now face a toxic combination of ageism and sexism.

They’ve seen a 30 per cent increase in unemployment since the election, compared to 5 per cent on average for everyone else.

And even in the Cabinet.

David Cameron told Caroline Spelman she was too old for the job, aged 54. Then replaced her with Owen Paterson, aged 56.

That’s why Labour has set up an Older Women’s Commission led by our Harriet Harman.

Because the generation who fought for equal pay, for childcare, for maternity leave, will not be silenced now.

We know too that many disabled workers are getting a bad deal. The Work Programme is missing its target for disabled people by 60 per cent.

And Conference, it is shocking the way this Government has closed so many Remploy factories with no jobs for people to go to. They have turned their back – we will not turn our back. We will keep campaigning for those Remploy workers because they have a right to work.

Perhaps the most disturbing thing of all is the rising child poverty that we are seeing across the UK. Families in Britain forced to depend on food banks. That is the shocking state of Britain under David Cameron and Nick Clegg. No child should have to grow up in our country in the twenty-first century feeling hungry, cold or left behind.

Conference, this isn’t an accident.

It is the direct result of deliberate policies.

Economic policies that push Britain back into double-dip recession.

Fiscal policies that help the richest in the country and make everyone else pay more.

And an approach to equality which sees positive action as somehow a burden, as opposed to the opportunities and doors that we know positive action can open.

So the action we took to tackle discrimination is now being dismantled.

Abandoning Labour plans for pay audits, even though it will take another 65 years for the gender pay gap to close.

Ending requirements on employers to protect their staff from racist or homophobic abuse.

Repealing laws that could help older women fight the toxic combination of ageism and sexism.

Introducing a new thousand-pound price tag to purse an equal pay claim.

Stopping the Equality and Human Rights Commission from assessing whether policies affect the poor.

Bit by bit they are eroding the protection people have – salami-slicing here and there. And Conference, the Labour Party must not let them get away with it.

We can build a fairer society. We’ve done it before and we’ll do it again. Progressive campaigning against prejudice and discrimination has changed our country.

When we brought in Civil Partnerships for lesbian and gay couples there was huge opposition.

Now the majority of the public agree with finishing what we started – and introducing same sex marriage. Ministers mustn’t chuck this into the long grass because they are afraid of the Tory right.

When people who love each other want to get married, we shouldn’t discriminate we should celebrate.

It is time to change the law now.

But the Government should go further. We respect freedom of religion and that means different faiths will make their own decisions.

But freedom of religion means we should support the Quakers, the Unitarians, Liberal and Reform Judaism and other faiths who want to celebrate same sex marriage.

And Conference this is the year of London 2012.

Britain put on the best Paralympics ever. Ever.

An amazing spectacular of sporting excellence – role models from Ellie Simmonds to Hannah Cockcroft, Johnny Peacock to David Weir – we celebrate their achievements and stand in awe of their excellence.

Because, the truth is Team GB made politics look small.

We have to be inspired by them. Our Paralympians changed Britain this summer – as a result of the Olympics and Paralympics that the whole country built together.

We mustn’t let it slip back now.

Because we know how much more all of us can achieve, whatever our circumstances, when we support each other, rather than leaving people to sink or to swim, alone.

And Conference, I think this – the spirit of the Olympics and the Paralympics – underpins Labour’s vision for equality.

It is a vision of a society that supports those who care for children or for elderly relatives, who are getting older, or who have a disability, to do all they can do. Be all they can be.

Equality laws that create a can-do society.

An economy that works for the working people.

A government that works for all the people.

Conference, this is Labour’s pledge on equality.

This is the kind of Britain we know we can be.

Yvette Cooper – 2012 Speech to the Police Federation Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by Yvette Cooper, the Shadow Home Secretary, to the Police Federation Conference on 15th May 2012.

Can I thank Paul McKeever for the invitation to speak at the Police Federation Conference.

It is 12 months since I joined you in Bournemouth.

12 months on Thursday to be precise. Today being Tuesday.

I always have to check what day it is, shadowing Theresa May.

Or Theresa April as she’s known in the Home Office now.

When last I came, and when last you gathered, I said then I was worried about the perfect storm building around policing.

At that time we feared 12,000 officers would be lost

We feared the frontline would be hit.

We feared morale was falling.

We feared that Ministers were not listening.

Turned out we weren’t afraid enough.

The Home Secretary told your conference last year she was on “a rescue mission, to bring the economy back from the brink and to make sure the police come through not just intact but better equipped for the future.”

Since then the economy has gone back into double dip recession. And 5,000 police officers have gone from the frontline.

Some rescue.

But as we reflect on the last 12 months, we should also pause to reflect and pay tribute to the serving officers who have lost their lives in the last twelve months.

Ian Swadling.

Scott Eastwood-Smith.

Perviz Ahmed.

Anthony Wright.

Stephen George Cully.

Ramin Tolouie.

Mark Goodlad.

Neil Jeffrys.

Andrew James Stokes.

Karen Paterson.

David John Rathband.

Preston Gurr.

The whole country was deeply moved and saddened by the tragic death of PC David Rathband.

He became Raol Moat’s target simply because of the job he did and the public service he gave. Shot and left in darkness by a murderer because he was a police officer.

An officer who inspired so many by his battle to return to service and to stand up for others injured in the line of duty.

We must make sure the Blue Lamp foundation stands as his legacy and his tribute now.

But I also want to pay tribute to PC Mark Goodlad whose funeral I attended in Wakefield at the end of last year and who lived just outside my constituency in West Yorkshire.

PC Goodlad was a traffic officer. Stood at the side of a motorway helping a woman who had broken down by the side of the road. A lorry driving on the hard shoulder knocked him down and took his life.

PC Goodlad wasn’t fighting crime when he fell. He was helping someone in need. Like so many officers day in day out. Doing his job. Taking risks to keep the public safe. And he gave his life.

Police officers are crime fighters yes, but they are so much more besides. And I want to pay tribute and say thank you to all the police officers across the country working hard, taking risks every day of the week to keep us safe.

But so many police officers and staff are now are worried about the future of policing.

Over 30,000 police officers gathered on the streets of London last Thursday.

Constables, sergeants, inspectors, superintendents and chief constables.

Police officers on their rest day, taking annual leave, slipping in before the night shift. Over 2,000 from the West Midlands, Over 1,000 from Greater Manchester, 650 from Thames Valley. Officers from Devon and Cornwall getting on coaches at 2am and travelling through the night to make their voices heard.

Officers from across the country who know that their forces are facing a cliff edge, worried that the service to the public is falling, and afraid that crime and public safety are being put at risk.

Because the Government is cutting too far and too fast. Hitting jobs and the economy. But also putting public safety at risk.

Labour MPs have voted four times in Parliament against the 20% cuts.

David Hanson, former Policing Minister many of you know and here today as Labour’s Shadow Policing Minister has called repeatedly in Parliament for the Government to change course.

Last week we supported your march against 20% cuts.

You are right, communities are being put at risk.

Cutting 16,000 officers is criminal.

Thank you for gathering last week to stand up for the communities you serve.

Because we are seeing the real consequences now.

In the Midlands, officers told me about a 999 call that came in about a hit and run involving a child. Thanks to cuts in response units, the nearest officer was 45 minutes away. He got there as fast as he could. But he arrived to a slow hand clap from the gathered crowd.

And in the South West, officers told me about a 999 call from a woman who was afraid because her partner was making threats. She was told to go round to a neighbour’s because there wasn’t a car to send. She called a second time as she became more worried and afraid. Only when she called the third time to report an assault was the response car dispatched.

Eighteen months ago, the Home Secretary promised that the frontline would not be hit.

Yet now we know 16,000 officers are being cut.

16,000. That’s the number of officers it took on the streets of London to take back control of the streets after rioters burned Tottenham and Croydon, and looters ransacked Clapham and Hackney.

The Prime Minister promised:

“We won’t do anything that will reduce the amount of visible policing on our streets”.

But over 5,000 police officers have gone already from 999 response units, traffic cops, and neighbourhood police.

So when 30,000 officers took an hour and a half to march ten abreast past the Home Office to demonstrate the strength of anger and concern, I think the Home Secretary should have answered you.

We called the Home Secretary to Parliament to respond. It is an utter disgrace that on police cuts she had absolutely nothing to say.

Everyone recognises the police have to make their share of savings.

Labour has said repeatedly since before the election that the police budget would have to be cut.

We supported 12% cuts. Based on expert work in the Home Office and by the Inspectorate. But not 20% cuts.

We supported £1bn annual savings over the course of a Parliament. And yes that would require pay restraint, reforms and back office cuts to achieve it. But it would also mean you could protect the frontline rather than watching 16,000 officers go.

Ministers would have you believe that means we support their plans. Quite the reverse. Instead of the £1bn cuts we accepted, they are cutting £2bn. Going too far too fast. And that’s why so many officers are being lost.

I know and you know that we won’t always agree.

Labour in government had disagreements with the police.

And there will be issues we disagree over in future too.

On pay and pensions, we believe further reforms are needed.

But they should be done through fair negotiations.

Some officers I know now support the police having the right to strike.

I strongly don’t. The police are the emergency service of last resort.

But there’s a flip side to that.

Government should respect and value the office of constable on which we depend.

When I spoke last year I supported your call for a royal commission

Not because policing in Britain is broken. But because to cut crime and keep the public safe, we should always seek reforms and improvements to make policing better.

I said then we would press the Government for a royal commission or major independent review of the long term future of policing in the 21st century.

And I said that if the Government refused to set up any kind of overarching review, then we would do so instead.

We have done so.

Lord Stevens, former Commissioner of the Met, has now begun work. Drawing on expert advice and contributions from serving officers, members of the public, academics and top criminologists, former Chief Officers, business people, local government workers, even our security and intelligence agencies, from Britain and across the world.

Looking at:

Challenges of the future – more national, international and high tech crimes. Greater expectations for fast and responsive local policing.

The talented, flexible and professional workforce needed.

Accountability, checks and balances.

The balance between national and local policing priorities.

But this Government has no positive vision for the future of policing.

Instead we have just chaos and contradictions:

Scrapping the NPIA with no proper plan for national training and development when it goes.

Abolishing the Forensic Science Service before sufficient quality services are available in its place.

Fragmenting forces with elected police and crime commissioners just when forces need to co-operate more.

Major cuts in service, yet £100m for elections in November that no one wants.

Promising less bureaucracy yet forcing officers to do more paperwork because so many police staff have been cut.

Undermining neighbourhood policing – one of the most important and successful reforms Labour introduced – as some areas consider removing officers and leaving PCSOs alone to do the job.

And demoralising the officers and staff who we need to be highly motivated by the cack handed approach to Winsor reforms.

The detail of the Winsor proposals is of course a matter for you and your representatives to pursue in the negotiations.

But let me raise some general points.

I think there should be reforms to pay and conditions to support modernisation of the police. Many police officers I’ve spoken to recognise that too.

I think there should be greater emphasis on skills, and the development of talent, faster track promotions, greater flexibility. We supported the Neyroud report. Fitness tests make sense too.

But the Home Secretary was completely wrong to give whole sale backing to the Winsor report when it raises so many concerns.

For example:

Regional pay is likely to cost more not less.

Calling for higher qualified recruits whilst cutting starting salaries makes no sense at all.

Too little consideration has been given to the impact on individual officers at a time when family budgets are already being squeezed.

Compulsory severance looks frankly like a plan for another huge round of cuts to policing or contracting out police work.

Time and again the Government is failing to value the office of constable or to recognise the complex mix of skills, experience and judgement the police workforce need.


We see it too in their plans to force through widespread privatisation of core public policing with no safeguards in place.


Public private partnerships can be very effective. The police can and should work closely with business on new technology and developing new ways of working. There is important work for the private sector to do.


But government needs to draw a line – in the interests of public confidence and public safety too.


Core public policing – such as neighbourhood patrols, serious criminal investigations, or assessing high risk offenders – should not be contracted out, no matter how cheap the contract price.


British policing is based on consent and it depends on the confidence of the communities being policed.


The public need to be confident decisions are being taken in the interests of public safety, the community or justice, not distorted by contract or profit.


We don’t want private companies on the beat on our public streets, we want crown servants, public servants, police officers doing the job to keep us safe.


Chaotic, fragmented, contradictory changes.

Cuts and confusion putting at risk the very best of British policing.

With no vision in its place.

That’s not reform. It is destructive chaos.

This Government is giving reform a bad name.

Reform should make the police service better.

Reform should improve the quality service to the public.

Reform should make it easier not harder to cut crime or keep the streets safe.

And reform should create a highly motivated, talented, committed and professional police force.

We want to see reforms from the Stevens review that support good policing rather than undermining it.

And that also means giving police officers the confidence that they will get the backing of the public and the force when they go the extra mile to keep people safe.

There is one reform the Government could sign up to straight away.

Doing more, not less, to help those officers injured in the line of duty who want to get back to work in the policing jobs they love.

Like PC Guy Miller from Kent Police who was run over by a car driven by two men he tried to arrest. At the time it was said that PC Miller would never recover from his injuries.

Yet less than three years later, PC Miller was back working for Kent Police.

He has since received recognition for his work in the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, solving crimes, and helping to protect the public.

Or PC Gareth Rees, a traffic officer for Hertfordshire police, hit by a car at the scene of an incident. Now back on full duties. But only after many operations and two years recovery.

As he told a journalist, “We are in harms way, but if it all goes wrong you hope you will be put back together again”.

Under the Government’s plans officers who want to return, but who need time to recover and rebuild will be penalised and probably forced out.

I believe we owe a duty of care to officers like PC Miller, PC Rees, or PC Rathband hurt working to keep us safe.

When a police officer, seriously injured in the line of duty, is determined to return to the policing job they love, they should not be penalised. I think they deserve the confidence of knowing their force will back them all the way.

And we need more action too from the Government to make it easier for the police to do their jobs – cutting crime and keeping people safe.

Because in the end that is what policing is all about.

In thirteen years of Labour government, crime fell by 40%.

That was the result of hard work by police and communities. Reforms that built partnerships with councils and housing associations to prevent crime. More police. New PCSOs. Neighbourhood policing to get back into the community. New powers on anti-social behaviour, domestic violence, knife crime or counter terror.

Most people think crime is still too high and they want it to come down further.

And that in the end should be the joint aim of communities, the Government and the police.

Instead the Government is making it harder for the police to do the job:

Fewer police.

Fewer powers.

Making it harder to get CCTV, taking rape suspects off the DNA database, ending ASBOs, watering down counter terror powers.

More bureaucracy not less.

And no over-arching strategy to cut crime.

Yet in the end, that means it is communities that pay the price.

Victims of crime who get less support.

Families who feel less safe.

Personal acquisitive crime already going up by 13%.

Other crimes have stopped falling when they should still be coming down.

I believe we can work together again – the police and communities, forces, councils, voluntary sector, businesses and government all pulling in the same direction to do more not less to keep people safe.

But it needs the Government, the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary to change course before it is too late.

Yvette Cooper – 2011 Speech to Police Federation Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by Yvette Cooper to the Police Federation conference on 17th May 2011.

It’s a great pleasure to be here. Can I thank Paul McKeever for the invitation to come to your conference.

And I want to take this opportunity as well to thank you and many of your members I have met since I became Shadow Home Secretary who have talked to me about the work you do and the challenges you face across the country.

From London to Leicester, Leamington to Leeds, West Midlands to West Yorkshire, the neighbourhood officers, the towncentre beat officers, traffic cops, public order police, detectives, counter terrorism officers, dog handlers and mounted police.

All doing their best to deliver good service in the face of new pressures.

For me, our Shadow Policing Minister Vernon Coaker and all our Shadow Home Affairs team, the perspectives of police officers across the country are extremely important.

And I want to thank Paul, Ian, the national and regional team and the reps across the country for the work you are all doing to stand up for your members. The Police Federation has always been straight with us.

In Government and out. You’ve always told us when you agreed with us, and also when you didn’t. Sometimes loudly.

Of course in thirteen years we didn’t always get it right. And we have to learn lessons from that.

On targets that lasted too long.

On force reconfiguration that people didn’t want.

And on arbitration too.

We didn’t get the pay process right in 2007, and you made clear the anger officers across the country felt at the time. Not least at this conference if I remember right.

And we did learn lessons from that. That’s why the following year, the Home Secretary and the Police Federation leadership worked hard together to get a three year deal that everyone could support.

But over thirteen years, the work you did, the extra 17,000 officers, 16,000 PCSOs and other staff we supported, the work together on prevention, on fighting crime, on counter terrorism, tackling anti-social behaviour, street crime, domestic violence.

It delivered results.

43% drop in crime.

Violent crime down.

Theft down.

Burglary down.

The risk of being a victim of crime at its lowest since the British Crime Survey and rising confidence in the police.

Because of the work you did.

That’s not the sign of a failing police service. It’s the sign of police officers committed to their communities and to the job.

And I know too this is about more than just fighting crime.

The traffic cops attending a bad crash. The search teams looking for an elderly man with dementia who wanders off. The officers working in schools. The officer I spoke to in West Yorkshire an hour after he’d faced a man threatening suicide from a third floor balcony – and had to take the potentially life or death decision when negotiations failed to send officers in to rush him and pull him back.

The police who have to pick up the pieces – the service of last resort when other things go wrong.

And I want to pay tribute to the police officers who have lost their lives in service, and those who have fallen since the Conference last met.

Detective Sergeant Terry Easterby.

Constable Sean Peter McColgan.

Constable Daniel Alastair Gibb.

Constable Scott Eastwood-Smith killed on Saturday on his way to work.

And from our colleagues in Northern Ireland, I woul d like to pay tribute to Constable Ronan Kerr, who was the victim of a terrible and cowardly murder, by terrorists who want to take the people of Northern Ireland and the peace process backwards.

People across the country have great respect for the risks you take and the job you do.

And that respect is important. It is an essential part of policing by consent – a founding principle of British policing centuries ago.

But that is why it is also so dangerous the way this Government is attacking the police now.

Paul is right to raise serious concerns about the campaign of denigration.

The persistent briefings and distorted information straight from Downing Street and the Home Office about the so called “police gravy train”.

The Prime Minister’s claim in the House of Commons that the police are “completely inefficient.”

You are right to be angry about attacks that are untrue, unfair and that undermine the work you do.

But there is a greater risk.

That kind of campaign of denigration undermines respect for the enforcement of law. It makes it harder on every estate, in every community, for the police to command the respect you need to do your jobs and to enforce the law.

You know I won’t always agree with you. You won’t always agree with me. We won’t always agree on the shape of reform. But I will always engage with you, and I don’t believe in undermining the job you do.

I do believe in continued police reform.

Not because I think policing is broken, but because it can be better, and we always should go further to do more for the sake of the communities we all serve.

Police officers I’ve spoken to across the country want to be part of a sensible, responsible debate about improving policing for the future.

But you are not punch bags. You are not material for cheap headlines. The Government should stop acting as if you are.

And the truth is the Government is not introducing sensible reforms. Quite the opposite.

I believe David Cameron and Theresa May have made the wrong decisions and the wrong judgements about the future of policing – and I fear it is communities across the country who will pay the price.

For a start they are cutting too far too fast and the police are among the hardest hit.

Overall the scale and pace of deficit reduction is being driven by politics not by what’s good for the economy. It’s hitting growth, hitting jobs and will end up costing us more.

I also fear that policing is among the worst hit. The Home Secretary failed to fight her corner in the Spending Review. And now we are seeing the results.

20% cuts with the steepest cuts in the first few years.

12,500 police officers will be lost, and thousands more support staff too.

Of course the police can and must make savings. But let’s be clear about the difference in our plans.

Labour’s plans were set out by Alan Johnson; a 12 per cent cut over the course of the Parliament, which the HMIC have said could be achieved without hitting frontline services and which Alan believed would have given chief constables the cash to maintain the numbers of police officers and PCSOs.

So yes, we would have cut £1 billion over the course of the Parliament and that would have been tough.

But the Government is cutting £2 billion, with the steepest cuts in the first few years.

The Home Secretary is still in denial.

Three times she was asked on Sunday whether 12,000 police officers would go. Three times she refused to answer and to take responsibility for the cuts.

Time and agai n Ministers tell us that the frontline won’t be hit. They clearly haven’t talked to the frontline officers in Warwickshire forced now to cover back office jobs, the neighbourhood officers being cut in London and Birmingham, the domestic violence units and traffic units across the country that are being squeezed.

Time and again they tell us that it is for Chief Constables to decide.

Yet the truth is Chief Constables are being put in an impossible position by the scale and pace of the cuts.

They tell us cutting bureaucracy will solve it. I welcome more work to cut bureaucracy. But they shouldn’t pretend it’s going to compensate for 12,000 officers lost. It is playing the police and the public for fools.

Government ministers are completely out of touch with the reality in police forces across the country.

As for the A19s. You couldn’t make it up.

A Government that says on the one hand everyone has to work for longer, and on the o ther hand, those who want to keep working have to go.

Officers forced to retire, then asked to come back and do the same job as specials instead.

That’s David Cameron’s Big Society.

But the greatest insult of all is that now we know it won’t even save any money.

The lost tax, national insurance and pension contributions means it will end up costing the taxpayer more.

But it’s not just the cuts. The Home Secretary is undermining leadership and morale with her cack-handed approach to reform.

Bringing in American style elected police chiefs which concentrate power in the hands of one politician with no checks and balances is putting centuries of impartial British policing at risk.

The uncertainty over commissioners and the chaos surrounding the national policing framework is making it harder for forces to make long term plans.

And the handling of pay and pension reforms – briefing and pre-empting the Winsor and Hutton reviews – has left police morale at an all time low.

But perhaps most important of all, the Government is making it harder for the police, the courts, and local communities to fight crime.

Youth services, family intervention projects and other prevention programmes cut back.

ASBOs abolished.

DNA use curtailed.

CCTV in a bubble wrap of bureaucracy.

Dangerous loopholes in child protection.

Chaos over the National Crime Agency, CEOP and the SFO

Sentencing reduced at the same time probation is cut back.

And now their latest plan to let criminals do half the time just for pleading guilty, no matter how serious the offence. That won’t fight crime and it’s not justice either.

They used to be the party of law and order once. Not now.

These are the ingredients for a perfect storm. Fewer police, fewer powers, weaker prevention, weaker sentencing, no checks and balances.

And no vision for the future.

No strategy to keep crime falling.

No bigger picture.

Through the Police Federation, you have called for a Royal Commission on the future of policing to turn things round.

You know the next election may not be for 4 years

I can’t promise you a Royal Commission after that – to pronounce in five or six years time. It’s too long to wait.

But I do think there is a strong case for an independent review – be it Royal Commission or other form of overarching review to start now.

On clearing up the mess of the current reforms.

On the challenges for the future – from counter terrorism to cyber crime.

On ensuring the police are flexible enough to respond, promoting not stifling the talents of officers and staff.

On putting communities at the heart of the fight against crime and delivery of justice.

On increasing accountability, transparency, checks and balances and remedies when things go wrong.

And on how, in the modern world we maintain what is precious about British policing – it’s impartiality, international reputation , sense of public service and policing by consent.

The Government should set up that independent review now and they should talk to you about how it should be done. And if they won’t we will.

Policing is too important to get it wrong.

For thirteen years, I believe Labour’s approach – “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” – delivered results. Now the Tory-led Government is putting that progress at risk.

Officers on the frontline say they fear crime will go up as a result.

And it is victims and communities across the country whose lives are wrecked and who pay a terrible price when things go wrong or when justice is denied.

We have to do everything we can to stop that happening.

We are determined to do everything we can to force the Government to change course.

They’ve done it before.

They’ve paused on the NHS.

They’ve u-turned on forests.

If they can do it for trees, they can do it for police and crime.

That’s why we will keep up the pressure in Westminster and across the country.

Along with hundreds of thousands of people across the country already raising their voices in alarm.

The fight against crime, the work for safer communities and the pursuit of justice are too important to put at risk.

Yvette Cooper – 2010 Speech to Labour Party Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by Yvette Cooper, the then Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, to the Labour Party conference on 27th September 2010.


Last week I talked to a mother in my constituency.

Her daughter Ellis is 16.

She got her GCSEs this summer. Her mum said she worked really hard.

She was due to start an apprenticeship this September at a local nursery school.

In August they told her the coalition Government has cut the funding.

Her mum was told Ellis can still do her training.

But only if she forks out £1,200. That’s £1,200 she and her family haven’t got.

Conference this is the Britain David Cameron and Nick Clegg want to build.

Hopes betrayed.

Ambitions abandoned.

Young people left to sink or swim.

Unless you can afford to pay yourself.

This is what the Big Society really means.

And this is why, for Ellis and thousands like her, we have to fight to get the Labour Party back into Government as soon as we possibly can.

And that is why we need to come together now, behind our new leader, Ed Miliband, who will lead us in:

– exposing the madness of the Tories’ attack on jobs,

– challenging the deep unfairness of their plans,

– and fighting the biggest assault on families in any of our lifetimes.

Conference, throughout our history the Labour Party has fought for jobs.

Remember as recession started, economists said unemployment would reach 3 million.

That is what happened in the Tory recessions of the 80s and 90s.

But this party vowed we would not let that happen again.

Government, businesses, unions , councils, voluntary groups all pulled together.

Backing jobs building new schools and homes.

Guaranteed work or training for young people.

Working together to keep Britain working.

Look at the results.

The dole queue started coming down last autumn.

Far earlier than in any other recession.

Far below the 3 million predicted.

One and a half million fewer people on the dole than in the 80s and 90s recession.

One and a half million more people in work supporting their families. That is Labour’s achievement and this party should be proud of it.

And Conference I saw the pressures Labour’s Chancellor faced, the decisions Alistair and Gordon took, that:

– stopped banks crashing,

– stopped millions of people losing their savings,

– saved jobs.

Conference we should pay tribute now to Gordon and Alistair for the work they did for this country.

Over the summer, the world economy ha s slipped back into more dangerous waters.

In Ireland the sharp austerity drive has triggered a double dip recession.

Here at home private sector job growth is still too weak.

Vacancies have dropped in the last three months.

And the number of people on the dole has gone up for the first time since January.

So what is David Cameron’s answer?

To cut jobs just when we need them most.

George Osborne’s own Budget said 100,000 more people on the dole each and every year, just as a result of the decisions they made.

Over the next few years, Treasury’s own papers show:

– Half a million jobs lost in the public sector,

– Over half a million jobs lost in the private sector,

– Half a million fewer jobs and opportunities for the unemployed.

So what do ministers have to say to the 90,000 young people now being denied a job on the Future Jobs Fund.

David Cameron said the Future Jobs Fund was “a g ood scheme” and “good schemes we will keep”.

But he didn’t keep it. He abolished it.

Nick Clegg was asked whether these job cuts were fair. He said “of course it isn’t…. It’s a decision taken by the local council.”

But Nick, it wasn’t a council decision, it was a decision announced by a Liberal Democrat Government Minister.

Doesn’t this tell you everything you need to know about this coalition.

David Cameron tells people whatever they want to hear.

Nick Clegg tells them it’s someone else’s fault.

And we in the Labour Party must make sure every conceit and every deceit is exposed for what it is – a betrayal of young people across Britain.

And what reason do they give for cutting so many jobs?

They say they need to do this to get the deficit down.

Conference, of course the deficit does need to come back down. And that will mean some tough and unpopular decisions.

But cutting jobs to get the deficit down?

More people on the dole to bring the deficit down?

What planet are they on?

We’ve heard the Tories say this before.

In the 90s they told us that “unemployment is a price worth paying to bring inflation down”.

20 years later they are telling us again unemployment is a price worth paying to bring the deficit down.

Both times they were badly wrong.

Unemployment is never a price worth paying.

Rising unemployment pushes the deficit up not down.

Every 100,000 people on the dole costs us £700 million in lower tax and higher benefits.

Unemployment isn’t the price of bringing the deficit down.

Higher unemployment means we all will pay a higher price.

Nick Clegg claims the public finances are like a household budget, and we have to cut back quick.

But think about it. Because this is a family with a choice to make.

It’s a family with a mortgage who cut the rep ayments when dad lost his job in the recession – to make sure they could get by til he found work, and to make sure the family didn’t lose their home.

And now they have a choice.

Make good those repayments steadily, bit by bit. Go for some extra overtime or promotion, tighten their belts a little. But spread the payments sensibly.

Or follow the George Osborne plan. Pay it off all at once. Sell the furniture, the car that gets mum to work, sell the dog, even the house itself – whatever it takes to get the debt down.

The truth is that every family knows cutting back too far too fast causes deep damage and ends up costing you far, far more.

Unemployment won’t get the deficit down, more people in jobs will get the deficit down.

Conference, our task is getting more people into work

That means supporting jobs and yes it also means going further on welfare reform too.

We brought in extra help and stronger rules. We cut the numb er of people stuck on out of work benefits. But we need to go further.

We know from the doorstep, we talked to parents worried about whether their children could find work, neighbours worried that other people weren’t playing by the rules.

We should have started sooner on reforms to help people off long term sickness benefits and into work.

And we should go further to guarantee more jobs, but to require more people to take them up.

Opportunities alongside obligations.

But that’s not what this coalition is doing.

Iain Duncan Smith says he wants more people in work.

But George Osborne is cutting jobs for them to go to.

Iain Duncan Smith says he wants people to be better off in work.

But George Osborne cut working tax credit.


Iain Duncan Smith says he wants more conditions on claimants.

But the Government is ending the requirement for young people to take work.


Iain Duncan Smith says a lot. But no one else in Government seems to be listening.


He said himself, he was the quiet man.


So quiet no one else can hear.


They’re not setting out welfare reforms to help people into work. They’re just setting out old fashioned cuts that hit the poorest hardest.

George Osborne is swaggering round like the playground bully – working out who won’t fight back, picking on the weakest – and that’s just Iain Duncan Smith.

Hitting the poorest harder than the rich.

Women harder than men.

Hitting the sick and disabled.

Pensioners and children are being hit hardest of all.

The nasty party is back, and this time they’ve brought along their mates.

From this April, over 50,000 of our poorest pensioners will lose an average £11 a wee k from their housing benefit.

Thousands of pensioners who will struggle to pay the rent.

Conference this party believes people who worked all their lives have a right to a secure home in their retirement.

And we should be proud of action we took to lift 600,000 children out of poverty. But the government is trying to turn back the clock.

Cutting maternity allowance, ending the child trust fund, the baby tax credit.

Taking £1200 from working families with new born babies in that important first year of life.

At least Margaret Thatcher had the grace to wait til the babes were weaned before she snatched their milk.

That money is what lets a new mum stay home with her little one a bit longer before she goes back to work to pay the bills.

It lets new dads cut back on the overtime so they can spend more time at home.

For thousands of new parents across the country, that money means precious, precious time at the start of a family’s life.

David Cameron said this would be the most family friendly Government ever.

In fact they have launched the biggest assault on the family in the entire history of the welfare state. And this party must fight it all the way.

This is a Government which just doesn’t understand women’s lives.

They’ve halved the number of women in the government – and let’s be honest we needed more women before.

George Osborne’s Budget hit women three times as hard as men.

£8 billion raised, £6 billion of it from women.

Even though women earn less and own less than men.

Nick Clegg says things like working tax credits, child benefit, carers allowance make people dependent and should be cut back.

For millions of women across Britain the opposite is true.

The tax credits help mums pay for child care so they can go out to work.

The carers allowance helps daughters look after their elderly parents.

That support doesn’t make them dependent. It gives them greater independence, greater choice about how to cope with the different pressures of work and family life.

Conference, all my life I have assumed that each generation of women would do better than the last.

I know I’ve had more choices, more opportunities than my mum and my grandma, not least because of the battles they won.

With each generation, I assumed, we would break more glass ceilings, change more of the world.

But now for the first time I worry about my daughters, about all our daughters. For the first time I worry that our daughters will have fewer chances in life than we did.

Conference, for women across Britain, backed by the Labour Party, the fight back starts here.

Throughout our history the Labour Party has fought for equality.

Fought for working families.

Fought for dignity in old age.

And throughout our history – from the Jarrow marches to the New Deal – we have fought for jobs.

Fighting for jobs, backing our economy, standing up for fairness, united behind our new leader; this must again be Labour’s crusade.

Yvette Cooper – 2009 Speech to Labour Party Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by Yvette Cooper, the then Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, to the 2009 Labour Party conference.


12 months ago we gathered in Manchester with the world economy on the brink of disaster

Think back for just a moment

Banks bigger than nations teetering on the edge of collapse.

Fearful families moving their savings from bank to bank.

The madness of markets in crisis.

The terrifying realisation that things people had taken for granted might all come crashing down

And yet in the midst of that crisis we learnt something else:

The strength of peoples, governments and nations standing together, arms stretched from country to country;

First to calm the wildness of the storm

And then to stop recession turning into slump;

And we learnt too how much we owe to the strong leadership of our Chancellor and our Prime Minister. And we should start our debate by thanking them now: Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown.

Never forget how close we came to catastrophe last year.

And never forget how easy it would have been for governments to stand back, to turn their backs, to retrench.

That was what governments across the world did in the thirties. And for years working people paid the price.

That was what the Tory government did here in the 80s. And for generations entire communities paid the price.

And that is what David Cameron and George Osborne wanted us to do again.

Conference we know unemployment is never a price worth paying. We will never leave people to stand alone.

Our Labour government will never turn its back on those hit by recession or global crisis.

We know unemployment hurts. Unemployment scars.

That’s why we are putting an extra £5bn into jobs and training.

And conference that support and our welfare reforms have made a difference. In just three months this summer more half a million people who were out of work found jobs.

But it’s still hard. Now is the time to increase – not cut back – on the programmes that help people get jobs.

Programmes like the Local Employment Partnerships between Job Centre plus and businesses that are getting people off benefit and into jobs in every one of our constituencies.

Helping people like Anthony in Castleford, who got a job after 14 months on the dole and told me its transformed his life — he’s got his own place, started management training, and been on his first ever holiday abroad.

I spoke to Rebecca Robertson, at Job Centre Plus in Castleford who helped Anthony get work about how she does it. She said; “I like to get under the employers skin – know what they really need. Then I can make sure I get people ready for the job.” She gets people training, boosts their confidence, and even goes to the interview with them if they need it – and she takes a spare tie and a spare pair of tights along just in case.

Conference, its people like Rebecca, going the extra mile to help people not just get a job but build a future. That’s public service.

But we need still to be much more ambitious. There are thousands more people like Anthony.

So we will do more. I can announce today that we will expand those successful local partnerships to help far more people. Already they’ve helped over 250,000 people into jobs. Now we will treble our original plans to help a total of over 750,000 people into jobs by the end of next year.

Because no one should be denied the dignity of work.

Across the country, major employers have been signing up to the Backing Young Britain campaign.

From Bradford to Brighton, Coatbridge to Cardiff, councils, housing associations, football clubs and countless community organisations are signing up to our £1bn fund to deliver over 100,000 youth jobs, as we guarantee no young person is stuck on the dole more than 12 months.

Even Tory Councils are signing up. Praising the programme and claiming the credit in their local papers.

But hang on. Where do they think the money is coming from for those jobs? I’ll tell you where. Its coming from £5bn extra this government has provided to boost the economy.

£5bn that George Osborne believes should never be spent.

£5bn the Tory party is determined to cut.

Conference we need to challenge every Tory MP, every Tory councillor and candidate to tell young people why their party wants to destroy their jobs.

Conference the Tory party want to turn their backs on young people again. And we must not let them get away with it.

So what would David Cameron put in place of training places and support he would cut?

Just one policy. As he told Tory party members in July: “50 of our candidates, MPs and councillors are setting up job clubs.” Instead of 100,000 youth jobs, 50 Tory job clubs.

Imagine it. Job clubs run by Tory MPs.

David Cameron might have some useful advice on interview techniques.

William Hague would certainly be able to help on getting second jobs or making extra cash on the side.

But what about the rest?

John Redwood on how to look interviewers in the eye.

Ken Clarke on how to dress for success.

You know what Norman Tebbit’s advice would be: take a cycling proficiency course.

Conference, may be there’s a reason why David Cameron doesn’t get the importance of training and employment support.

For his first job he got a royal equerry to ring up on his behalf. For his second job he got his mother in law Lady Astor to put in a good word.

Conference, that’s not how people like Anthony in Castleford get jobs.

Back in the real world thousands of people rely on the help from training colleges and Job Centres the Tories want to cut.

Conference, the Tories say we can’t afford to invest in the unemployed. I say  we can’t afford not to.

Look at the facts. For every 100,000 people we get off unemployment we save £700m.

There is no better way to cut the deficit once the economy is growing than to get people off benefit and back into work.

That is why we will make sure no one is written off.

Keeping up the employment support and the welfare reform that is getting people back off long term benefits and into jobs.

Helping disabled people overcome discrimination to work.

Helping parents get the child care they need.

More support and also making sure everyone does their bit.

Working with businesses, the voluntary sector in the Flexible New Deal.

Not a passive welfare state, but active support for work.

David Cameron doesn’t believe in active government to help the unemployed because he doesn’t believe in active government.

Their campaigns for Broken Britain, for an age of Austerity, all designed to break people’s faith in a brighter future.

He wants us to despair of purpose of politics or the role of government so they can roll back the bounds of government – a counsel of despair that would have run Britain into ground if we had followed it last year.

We know things are tougher in recession. But we know if we stand together we can come through it stronger.

And we know there will be tough choices on the public finances. But we will make those tough choices guided by our vision of a fairer Britain, for our parents, children, neighbours.

That is why we will increase the top rate of tax and we won’t cut inheritance tax for millionaires.

It is why we will keep helping families.

Backing Sure Start and child benefit.

Making sure mums and dads can balance work and family life.

Helping carers.

Putting into law our commitment to end child poverty for ever.

That is why we will keep doing more to help pensioners.

Tackling decades of unfairness so millions of women can get full basic state pensions that should be their right.

Requiring employers to make pension contributions for the first time for millions of low paid workers.

And conference, because fuel bills are still high, as well as paying the Winter Fuel Allowance at the higher rate again, I can announce we will also pay Cold Weather Payments at the higher rate again cold

But conference you can’t do any of those things if you don’t believe in the role of government.

You can’t do any of those things if you don’t believe in standing together to help build a fairer country.

You can’t do any of those things if you have a Tory government

In the thirties one of the first ever women Labour MPs, Ellen Wilkinson, marched with our fore fathers from Jarrow to fight for jobs.

In the eighties I marched with my father and with many of you under the Union Banners to fight for Jobs.

But Conference. We marched then in vain. Because we didn’t win the arguments. We didn’t win power. And there was nothing more we could do.

That’s why we have to fight now. That is why there is so much at stake. That’s why the Labour Party today has more to fight for than ever.

We owe it to the young people today, but also to the Jarrow marchers we couldn’t help, to the 80s unemployed we couldn’t support.

We owe it to them to fight for every vote, to fight together to win the next election and to build a fairer Britain.