Rishi Sunak speaks of safety fears for daughter

The PM says the case of Olivia Pratt-Korbel “brought home” to him the importance of street safety.

Image source, Reuters

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has spoken of his fears for his daughter’s safety on her walk to school, following the case of Olivia Pratt-Korbel.

He said the murder of the nine-year-old, who was shot earlier this year in Liverpool, “brought home” to him the importance of street safety.

“I want to make sure that my kids and everyone else can walk around safely… it’s what anyone wants,” the PM said.

He said in the past he and “many of us men” had taken safety “for granted”.

“The events of the last year showed us that so many women and girls, actually for a while, have not felt as safe as they should.

“So tackling that and making it safer for people is something that’s just personally quite important to me.”

He also said people in disadvantaged backgrounds were more likely to be impacted by crime and that he wanted to “deliver for those people” by putting more police officers on the street.

In 2019 the government pledged to recruit 20,000 additional police officers in England and Wales by March 2023, in an attempt to reverse cuts since 2010, which had seen the number fall by about 19,000.

Labour has accused the Conservative government of “taking an axe to the vital services that are there to protect us all”.

Pushed on whether the number of people in prison in the UK should be higher than it currently is, Mr Sunak said a “logical consequence of catching more criminals” would be higher prison numbers.

And he said the government was building 10,000 more prison places over the next few years to deal with that extra capacity.

Asked if that meant he was comfortable with the prison numbers going up, the prime minister replied: “Well, we’re not very comfortable with it, but I’ve made sure that we have the funding in place to have the capacity to do it.”

Image source, Reuters

Mr Sunak was speaking to reporters while flying to Bali, for his first G20 summit since becoming prime minister.

He had been anticipating a spell on the backbenches after losing to Liz Truss in the Conservative leadership election in the summer.

However, the implosion of Ms Truss’s premiership and her subsequent resignation saw Mr Sunak swiftly given the top job by his fellow MPs.

Having already lived in the No 10 flat as chancellor, Mr Sunak said the move was “easier than it otherwise might have been”.

“But it happened quite suddenly so it was a bit of an adjustment for everybody.”

“I’ve been working pretty much night and day for the last couple of weeks because there’s a lot to get through, and I’ve had a lot of these trips so I haven’t really had time to stop and think.”

But the prime minister said that attending the Remembrance Sunday was a “moment” where “for a few seconds I did actually get to just take in the responsibility that I’ve got in this new job.”

“That was a pretty special moment which I won’t forget.”

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