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General Election 2024: How will Newark Candidates tackle litter, speeding, anti-social behaviour and drugs — and get more police on the streets?

Ahead of the upcoming general election, the Advertiser asked readers to share questions they would like answering by candidates vying to become their next MP.

A key concern for many in the area is the “smaller issues” of litter, speeding, anti-social behaviour and drug deals within towns and villages, and getting more police out on the streets.

Newark candidates were asked: “The political parties are talking about large issues, but how will you respond to the smaller issues that affect us all on a daily basis and what do you propose to do to help clean up the area and make people proud of their community?”, and “What can be done to ensure we get more police on our streets?”

Here are their responses, in alphabetical order:

Saj Ahmad — Labour

Saj Ahmad, Labour candidate for Newark
Saj Ahmad, Labour candidate for Newark

“Community matters, and ensuring all communities are safe matters to me. Anti-social behaviour spoils many local areas and can ruin lives. Funding for councils to invest in neighbourhoods has been cut to the bone.

“Previous Labour governments tackled anti-social behaviour head on. This paid dividends. The number of people worried about such behaviour in their local area reduced by a third under Labour, but it has nearly doubled under the Tories.

“Labour would get back to policies that directly address these problems, including Respect Orders banning repeat offenders from our towns.

“We will invest in a network of youth hubs and put youth workers in A&E units and custody centres, and youth mentors in pupil referral units.

“We won’t turn our backs on young people who are going astray. We’ll work directly with them to get their lives on track and help them contribute to their local community.

“Labour has a straightforward vision for policing. When you call the police, they should come. When you report a crime, it should be properly investigated everywhere.

“Labour will introduce a new Neighbourhood Policing Guarantee, restoring patrols by recruiting thousands of new police officers, support officers, and special constables.

“Communities and residents will have a named officer to turn to. I will work with Police and Crime Commissioner Gary Godden to make sure that policing works for Newark.

“I have a zero tolerance approach to violent crime. I support Newark Women’s Aid and local services in the work they do to reduce domestic violence and the consequences of it.

“Labour has set a measurable aim of halving knife crime within a decade with a series of practical measures. Labour will work to halve violence against women and girls in a decade. We must work to end crime against women and girls.”

Adrian Amer — Independent

Independant candidate for Newark, Adrian Amer.
Independant candidate for Newark, Adrian Amer.

“My answer to all this is a Zero Tolerance Crime Policy. If no or little attention is paid to litter, speeding, anti-social behaviour and drug dealing, not only will crime continue to exist but will flourish.

“I would introduce a Safer Streets initiative to tackle all the above.

“It is plain and simple that a recent increase in police numbers comes after a substantial decline in police numbers between 2010 and 2018. The increase has not kept up with population growth since 2010.

“New officers have not been evenly distributed throughout the country. PCSO numbers have fallen by over 50% over the same period as well a decline in special constables.

“Policing needs a more sustainable approach to its workforce planning and long term funding.

“Low morale, pay dissatisfaction and police treatment by the government all need to be addressed and improved. Enhanced levels of recruitment including an effective screening process needs to be implemented.

“Only 6% of police recorded crimes have led to charges in 2021/22. Victims and those waiting for trials wait years for justice. There are 90,000 outstanding cases to be heard in court.

“The crisis in the police service and the criminal justice system is no better than the crisis in the NHS. Increase specialist skills in areas like digital forensics and accredited detectives in order to release police constables to do their work on the streets, not in the office.

“There needs to be a zero tolerance crime system instituted requiring a beginning to end approach from developing programmes to assist youths from stopping committing crimes, through to the creaking court system, the full prisons and the over-stretched probation service.

“The police service must be the focal point and integral to this process.”

Lyn Galbraith — Independent

Lyn Galbraith, Independent candidate for Newark
Lyn Galbraith, Independent candidate for Newark

“I would begin with community engagement, having open and honest discussions with residents, the police, local schools and community groups to understand the issues faced by those directly affected and the solutions they believe would work.

“I believe the local community is best placed to create these solutions. My role would be to support and advocate as much as required, liaising with the appropriate departments to facilitate introductions or secure funding for any initiatives.

“Drugs are devasting, both individually and within the wider community. To tackle drug deals we need to ensure the local police and specialist County Lines task forces continue to be fully funded. I will lobby for increased funding to exapnd the task force.

“Newark’s central location make it an attractive hub to ferry drugs around the country and we need a greater police presence to combat this along with education and awareness.

“Money and flexibility. We need a multi-faceted approach in order to see more police on our streets.

“According to recent research new police recruits are wanting greater flexibility and are prepared to take greater career risks and don’t see policing as their only career.

“The police need to address this and create a system that can adapt to these needs and can accommodate a more fluid workforce. We need to secure extra funding to recruit more police and provide better training to prepare them well for their roles thereby keeping them in the force for longer.

“We need to implement a community policing model where the same officers work regularly in our communities. This helps build trust and engagement with the local communities, letting police work proactively to prevent crime.

“By doing these things, we can more police on the streets making our communities safer for everyone.”

Robert Jenrick — Conservative

Robert Jenrick, Conservative candidate for Newark
Robert Jenrick, Conservative candidate for Newark

“Fighting crime and antisocial behaviour is a top priority for me.

“No one should have to put up with crime, and no crime is “minor” to my mind. Burglary, theft and harassment by yobs in town centres can be amongst the most harmful crimes.

“Our area has benefited from several rounds of government funding to help combat anti-social behaviour, including nearly £1M through the Safer Streets fund.

“This has led to crucial interventions and measures proven to thwart neighbourhood crime, such as installing new 4G CCTV cameras in Bingham.

“I hosted the first Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour Summit in Newark and have since held more in Bingham and Newark, featuring operational leads tackling local issues.

“These summits are invaluable platforms for residents to voice their concerns and contribute to targeted solutions.

“I have also campaigned nationally for more and longer custodial sentences for prolific offenders. I believe in second chances, but not fourth or fifth chances. We need to lock up “hyper prolific” offenders and keep the public safe. Our beautiful area deserves to stay that way.

“We need more visible police, and I have worked with Nottinghamshire police to increase the number of officers in Nottinghamshire by 187 over the next year.

“By bolstering neighbourhood policing teams, we can increase the presence of officers on our streets, strengthen the bond between local law enforcement and communities, and reinforce a sense of security and trust.”

Robert Palmer — Reform UK

Reform UK candidates for Newark constituency, Robert Hall-Palmer.
Reform UK candidates for Newark constituency, Robert Hall-Palmer.

“Stop and search, Stop and Search, STOP AND SEARCH.

“The political correctness around stop and search has to end. This is the only method to bring youths into line.

“Real penalties that youths will have to serve and police that do not fear accusations of racism because the subculture in several minority groups is to carry knives.

“Reform will provide forty thousand extra police over 5 years. We will allow all PCSO’s to become police officers and we will end the degree requirement and replace it with an entrance exam.

“I personally would also be keen to give them the same tax breaks as we have offered NHS new staff.”

David Watts — Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrat candidate for Newark, David Watts.
Liberal Democrat candidate for Newark, David Watts.

“Looking after their community is one of the most important roles of an MP.

“I have as a councillor organised community litter picks, and also liaise regularly with the police over reports of anti-social behaviour and areas of drug use.

“If I have the honour of being your MP then I will continue to do this. I think that many people are already proud of our community and where areas are suffering I will do all I can to get the resources into the area that they need.

“MP’s have a significant amount of influence and I will use that to benefit our community, not for personal enrichment.

“We need to recruit more police officers. Recent improvements in numbers have simply helped to tackle the drop in police officers that there have been over the last few years.

“If I’m elected then I will look forward to working with the Police and Crime Commissioner and the local police commander to get the maximum resources for Newark and Southwell.

“Too often police resources are dragged into the City of Nottingham leaving the rest of the county under-provided for.

“Having dedicated teams of officers to police rural areas and tackle rural crime is one step that can be taken, and ensuring the police have the resources to do their jobs in the most efficient manner possible is another.”

All nine Newark candidates were invited to contribute their answers, however Michael Ackroyd (Green), Matthew Darrington (English Democrats), and Collan Siddique (Workers Party of Britain), did not provide a response.

The UK General Election is scheduled to take place on July 4.

The candidates confirmed for the Newark constituency are (listed alphabetically):

• Michael Ackroyd - Green Party

• Saj Ahmad - Labour

• Adrian Amer - Independent

• Matthew Darrington - English Democrats

• Lyn Galbraith - Independent

• Robert Jenrick - Conservative

• Robert Palmer - Reform UK

• Collan Siddique - Workers Party of Britain

• David Watts - Liberal Democrats

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