Too many local residents still suffer with anti-social behaviour. Whether it’s noisy neighbours, aggressive yobs or intimidation -; it makes people’s lives a misery.

Sometimes just one individual can blight a community -; leaving residents fearful and destroying quality of life.

That’s why it’s so important that Northumbria police receive the funding they need to maintain neighbourhood policing.

It makes communities safer and gives local people confidence that they can report what’s happening in their area and action will be taken.

Our local police force has seen massive cuts to its budget -; far greater than in many affluent areas.

The Chancellor promised to protect police funding but he hasn’t kept his word. We face big challenges around rising violent crime and the changing nature of crime -; official figures haven’t recorded the growing problem of cyber crime or fraud.

Fighting to protect police funding in Parliament is only one part of the action I’ve been taking.

Since 2013, I’ve been organising coffee mornings to bring together local residents and neighbourhood policing teams. These events allow residents to share their experiences and tell me what needs to change to make life better.

Local policing teams have also given updates on prosecutions and have been able to gather useful information about local concerns.

To date, over 500 local residents have attended an event, and I’ve directly contacted over 16,000 households in my constituency.

The information police have received helps to keep our community safe and crime low.

My next coffee morning will be held in the Houghton area later this month. If you’re a constituent in Houghton and Sunderland South and would like to come along, then contact my constituency office by calling 0191 584 4317. If you’re unable to attend but have been a victim of crime, or your area is suffering from anti-social behaviour, please do get in touch if you need my help.

This article was originally posted on the Sunderland Echo’s website on 3rd March 2016. You can view it here.

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