Rishi Sunak raises concerns over his children's safety and vows to jail more criminals

UK Prime Minister plans to increase the number of police and prisons

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says tackling crime is 'personally quite important to me'. EPA
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New British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has shared his concerns for his children's safety and said he wanted more criminals to be jailed.

He said his eldest daughter had reached the age where she wanted to walk to school by herself, which “brings home” the dangers women and girls face.

He vowed to curb crime in the UK, making a reference to the killing of Olivia Pratt-Korbel at her home in Liverpool, England, so that “my kids and everyone else can walk around safely”.

Tackling crime was “personally quite important to me", Mr Sunak said.

“I come to it as a parent. I have two young girls," he said.

His eldest wanted to walk to her primary school by herself when she turned 11, he said, which was why his family moved out of their Downing Street flat and closer to her school in west London before he resigned as chancellor of the exchequer in July.

“That brings it home. It brings it home to you as a parent and again over the summer the awful things that we read about with the young girl Olivia, which we’ll all remember,” he said.

“I want to make sure that my kids and everyone else can walk around safely. That’s what any parent wants for their children.

“It’s what anyone wants — particularly for their wife or their sister, as well — because that hasn’t been something that in the past.

"Well, in the past I’ve taken it for granted, and many of us as men have.

“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 said he remained committed to the Conservative Party manifesto promise to put 20,000 more police officers on the streets.

Boosting police to reduce neighbourhood crime “is incredibly important to me”, he said.

“We should charge more people and reduce crime and have them in jail,” he said.

“If you put more police officers on the street and you tackle more crime, you’re going to end up with more people in jail, which is why we’re building 10,000 more prison places over the next few years.”

Asked whether he was comfortable about an increase in prisoner numbers, he said: “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.”

Mr Sunak said he was spending “a bit of time” on making sure police have the powers they needed to do their jobs.

Asked about life back in Downing Street, he said moving back into the flat his family lived in when he was chancellor — above No 10 rather than the larger one above No 11 — made the transition “easier than it otherwise might have been”.

"It happened quite suddenly so it was a bit of an adjustment for everybody and as I said I’ve been working pretty much night and day for the last couple of weeks … so I haven’t really had time to stop and think," he said.

Attending last week’s Festival of Remembrance gave him a rare opportunity to reflect on his role as the country's leader.

“That was a moment where I did for a few seconds actually get to just take in the responsibility that I’ve got in this new job and, you know, that was a pretty special moment that I won’t forget,” he said.

Updated: November 19, 2022, 4:30 AM