Prime minister Theresa May considering meeting crime-hit Portsmouth traders

Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons yesterday, with Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt seated, right
Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons yesterday, with Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt seated, right
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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PRIME minister Theresa May is considering meeting Portsmouth businesses who have fallen victim to a crimewave that has blighted the city.

Her announcement comes after the PM was accused of being ‘in denial’ over rising crime levels by Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan.

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan  has hit out at the PM

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has hit out at the PM

Mr Morgan has demanded Mrs May to take action and meet with a delegation of city traders who have been repeatedly targeted by criminals.

During today’s Prime Minister’s Questions he said police budgets and numbers had been slashed too deeply.

Addressing the PM in Parliament, the Labour MP said: ‘The prime minister continues to be in denial about rising crime and falling police numbers.

‘Despite her repeated assurances, budgets have not been protected for my local police force, which has already lost £80m and 1,000 police officers.

‘Will she meet me and a delegation of Portsmouth small businesses, which do so much for my local economy yet have seen significant rises in break-ins and crime as a result of Tory cuts?’

Responding, the ex-home secretary said: ‘Obviously I will look at the honourable gentleman’s request, but those who are concerned about the way in which policing is being undertaken in their area should actually speak to their local police, who make operational decisions about what is happening.’

Mrs May added more cash was being pumped into policing and that the Tories had ‘protected overall police spending’ and would ‘continue to do so’.

But Mr Morgan said the PM’s response showed the government was ‘out of touch’.

‘The Tories are simply not serious about tackling crime,’ he said. ‘It is utterly shameful the PM today blamed the rise in business crime on the operational decisions of the police when they are struggling with the cuts she is responsible for, first as home secretary, and now PM.

‘Portsmouth’s businesses are suffering the consequences of unprecedented cuts and getting lip-service in return.’

Businessman Johnny Black, who owns Johnny Black Photography in St Vincent Road, Southsea, is among those to have been broken into. He wants to meet the PM.

‘I love my city so much and really can’t bear to see so many local businesses be affected by petty crime, we really don’t want shutter streets everywhere,’ he added.

Mr Morgan has previously written to Portsmouth City Council demanding to know what the authority was doing to help police tackle crime.

Council boss Donna Jones said the city was in regular contact with police, allowing them to use its extensive CCTV network of 147 cameras.

She added there were plans to buy an extra 10 mobile cameras.