Bexhill and Battle MP backing police officers by lobbying government

Bexhill and Battle MP Huw Merriman outside Sussex Police headquarters in Lewes SUS-160911-153651001
Bexhill and Battle MP Huw Merriman outside Sussex Police headquarters in Lewes SUS-160911-153651001

The Bexhill and Battle MP has been busy calling for tougher punishments for police attackers and more funding for the force to tackle fraudsters in ‘ageing’ Sussex.

Huw Merriman believes harsher sentences are needed to deter assaults on police officers and asked the minister in the House of Commons to put pressure on courts.

The MP also called on Home Secretary Amber Rudd in the Commons to give more money to Sussex Police to fight scammers as there are many elderly people at risk in the county.

“I was pleased to use the House of Commons chamber to champion protection of the police and greater funding for Sussex Police,” he said.

“I was encouraged that the police minister agreed to look at my proposal to extend the government powers to appeal lenient sentences to assaults on the police. With an ageing population, Sussex is targeted by criminals seeking to take advantage of the elderly and vulnerable.

“If the number of pubs in an area causes police funding to increase then so should the number of dementia sufferers.

“I was pleased that the home secretary, who herself champions this cause in neighbouring Hastings, gave this suggestion some encouragement.”

Mr Merriman met the Sussex Police Federation and Sussex Police leaders to discuss the issue, and took part in a Commons debate on November 2, backing a motion calling an assault on a police officer ‘unacceptable’.

The Conservative MP asked police minister Brandon Lewis to put pressure on courts to deliver tougher sentencing and asked the government to give the Attorney General new powers to review ‘unduly lenient’ sentences.

In another move to support the police, Mr Merriman asked Ms Rudd for changes to the funding formula to give more money to areas with more senior citizens.

Nine out of 10 victims of fraud are over 60 – 64 per cent are over 75 – and high risk fraud victims in Sussex lost an average of £20,000 each since May, 2015, according to police figures.

Mr Merriman said this direct link between age and victim demonstrates that more resources are needed in places like Sussex to fight scammers because of the amount of vulnerable, elderly people.

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