Smith recruits crime-fighting “army”

An “army” of crime-fighters costing £5 million are to be recruited by the government, Jacqui Smith has announced.

The home secretary told the Labour conference in Manchester the plans will see one crime-fighter allocated to each of the 3,600 neighbourhood policing teams across the country.

They will be given the “skills and training” needed to get “results. to turn the tables on graffiti, yobs and violent crime”, she said.

Together with local crime mapping and £3.8 million funding for “diversionary activities” through the tackling knives action programme, Ms Smith said the measure would “build confidence in the power of communities to come together and deal with the problems they face”.

She added: “It’s in everyone’s interest to strengthen the ties that bind communities together in the fight against crime.”

Ms Smith said police forces would not face any further targets beyond a simple pledge outlining “a clear set of standards you can expect the police to meet”. This move, she said, would free up thousands of police officers and end “red tape”.

Her speech also included an announcement to start to outlaw paying for sex with someone controlled for another person’s game.

And in further moves against prostitution Ms Smith said she would make kerb-crawling punishable as a first offence. At present only persistent cases face legal action.

“We’ll give communities a stronger say in stopping lap-dancing clubs opening in their areas,” she added.

“I want to know what the Tories have to say for themselves, after sending all their conference delegates a £10-off voucher to one of these clubs.”

Ms Smith continued Labour’s rejection of Conservative leader David Cameron’s claims that Britain is suffering from a “broken society”.

She described the tag as “irresponsible”, “alarmist” and “opportunistic”.