It was a fantastic honour to be appointed Home Secretary last year. My first duty in this role, and the priority of any government, is to ensure the security of our country and the safety of everyone living here.
At a time of acute global threats alongside the insidious and sustained menace of terrorism, we are taking strong and decisive action to challenge and guard against these dangers.
And here, in the communities where we live and work, we must also continue to proactively challenge lawlessness. Disorder, from anti-social behaviour to theft and violent crime, must be tackled and its perpetrators brought to justice. We should always feel completely safe in our homes and able to fully enjoy living in our towns.
In recent months we have been reminded of the volatile world we live in. The barbaric crimes of Assad in Syria and the bellicose threats of North Korea clearly show the need for the strong leadership of the UK on the global stage.
Our military and intelligence services are among the most effective in the world and we operate an independent nuclear deterrent. These elements are critical in ensuring that we are kept safe from threats outside our borders. However, they also allow us to stand tall in the world, act as a vital ally to our friends, and take a lead on issues which affect our national interest.
Similarly, when keeping us safe at home, cooperation is vital. Our police and security services do fantastic work which is enhanced by the sharing of information and intelligence across borders. This has proved invaluable in the fight against terrorism over recent years. However, last week, we were reminded of the threat we face with the senseless murder of a police officer in Paris. This stands as one of the countless examples of the sacrifices and dedication of the law enforcement community.
Here, in Hastings and Rye, it is also through leadership and co-operation that we are best able to tackle crime and ensure that local residents can fully enjoy living in our towns. Since March 2014, when I organised the first multi-agency community meeting of police, the council, residents and businesses, the number of anti-social behaviour incidents recorded in St Leonards has declined by over 20%. We will go further, targeting the social issues alongside the abuse of alcohol and drugs which create the environment for anti-social behaviour to occur. Through this we will also tackle the other, often more serious, crime which can lead on from these incidents. Also, in Rye, where illegal parking is a huge inconvenience, I am pleased to see the local councils working with residents towards a solution.
From the international stage to the streets of our towns, strong and effective decision-making is critical to identifying the challenges which need to be met and their solutions. And I have learned, as your Member of Parliament and as a government minister, that these efforts are always more successful when you work with partners towards these common goals.