Nick Clegg MP turns crime campaign up a gear!

April 28, 2007 1:36 AM

Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary Nick Clegg, came to Rochdale on Thursday 26 April. Mr Clegg, a close friend of Rochdale MP Paul Rowen, was here to support Lib Dem candidates at what is an important time for the Liberal Democrats locally as they seek to take overall control of Rochdale Council in the forthcoming local election.

Asked what he considered the most important issues at the elections Mr Clegg said: "I'm the Home Affairs spokesman for the Liberal Democrats so I'm responsible for the campaigns we run up and down the country on crime and anti-social behaviour, and I know this is a very important for people in Rochdale, its something we are campaigning on very successfully here so I've opted to lend my support."

Challenged that the Lib Dems commitment to "tackle crime and the causes of crime" is something that has been heard many times before, Mr Clegg replied: "I don't think people have heard it before, that's the whole point, we've had ten years of tough talk from Labour, and ten years of one piece of new legislation after the other and ten years of headline grabbing gimmicks. If legislation, tough talk and headline grabbing gimmicks would make it safe we'd be the safest country in the world, we're not and I think what is dawning on people is that the way Labour has dealt with crime and anti-social behaviour - lots of tough talk, lots of legislation, lots of shouting about it, while actually not doing any practical things - just doesn't work."

Mr Clegg went on to say: "I know we have been campaigning here very successfully locally and making the point that it is the old tried and tested methods that actually work the best and one of the most important tried and tested methods of keeping people and property safe is just having police officers visible in the community; it's not rocket science but it is expensive.

"The problem is that police officers have got far too much paper work, which leaves them tied up in police stations, when they should be out on the beat. However, every time they make an arrest they have to spend hours dealing with paper work; they're not out where we want them, out in our community, enough."

In 1999 Mr Clegg won election to the European Parliament as MEP for the East Midlands. In the European Parliament he was the Liberal Democrat Senior Trade & Industry Spokesperson.

He stood down as an MEP at the 2004 European elections to contest the Westminster parliamentary constituency of Sheffield Hallam in the General Election of May 2005. Mr Clegg won the seat with a majority of 8,682 votes.

He is a prolific author, journalist and pamphleteer, and has been a part-time lecturer at Sheffield University and a guest lecturer at Cambridge. A founder of the cross-party Campaign for Parliamentary Reform, Mr Clegg is married to Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, a Middle East expert in the Foreign Office; they have two sons.