THE SHADOW Home Secretary launched a protest in Southampton today, claiming that criminals in the UK have “never had it so good” under the Conservative government.

A van, with a screen claiming violent crime had increased, and suspects charged had decreased was parked at Oakbank Road Car Park in Woolston this morning.

The van was then driven around the city, stopping at Bitterne Police Station. 

The campaign, headed by Labour Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds ahead of local elections on May 6 urged the government to make policing a priority.

Daily Echo:  

At the event, he said: "I'm here in Southampton today because here in Hampshire, even with all the new police recruits promised by the government, Hampshire will still find itself with fewer officers than it had in 2010 when the conservatives came into government.

"We also have on top of that the cuts to police staff.

"My message today to the government is this simply isn't good enough."

He continued: "We need to see tougher sentences for things like rape and stalking and we need to put victims first in our criminal justice system - they've been an afterthought to this conservative government for too long."

The party has taken aim at the Government over its record in the past decade, accusing ministers of “looking the other way” as incidents rise.

But the Tories have since hit back at those claims, accusing Sir Keir Starmer’s party of “being on the side of criminals” by opposing the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill .

Leader of Southampton City Council, Christopher Hammond also attended the event. 

He said: "The Labour party's campaign has come to Southampton because we are an incredibly important area which has seen crime going up. 

"We've seen crime going up every year since 2012, and that's because our police numbers have been falling but also because of the deprivation we have in the city which has contributed to a situation where the council and our partners are really concerned about the growing threat of crime and public safety. 

He said the council's priority with regards to crime is tackling violence against children and violence in the home. 

"We know that most children that come into care have had some experience of violence in the home, and that is not acceptable," he said.