First and foremost, I am a Barnsley MP proudly working each day to stand up for our town and my constituents.

Last autumn I was also appointed as shadow security minister – and this means working to protect the people we hold dear, the institutions we rely upon and the way of life we enjoy in Barnsley and around the UK. There is no greater duty than keeping our country safe.

One issue people in Barnsley have raised with me frequently is immigration and small boat crossings. I am also hugely concerned – the number of people making the dangerous journey across the Channel has shot-up and is now a staggering 150 times higher than it was five years ago.

Labour will tackle the people smugglers head on. If we are given the privilege to serve in government, then we will tackle this vile trade by setting up a cross-border policing unit to smash the criminal gangs. This would include investment in the National Crime Agency (NCA), with officers based in the UK and Europe to tackle the gangs upstream. We will devise and deliver an action plan for police, the NCA and Border Force to destroy the gangs.

This plan will end years of indecision and get a grip of a crisis which has cost countless lives. Ending the small boats crisis is a priority.

Other parts of the security brief include working to keep Britain safe: counter terrorism, our response to hostile states; cyber security and crime; and economic and serious organised crime. This work relies on the dedicated staff in the police, Armed Forces, security services and National Crime Agency. These men and women work around the clock, often in hugely demanding circumstances and do not always get the recognition they deserve. We owe them our gratitude for their service.

The security brief is all about protecting us as we live, work and rest – ensuring we stay safe when we shop online or use social media, and safeguarding the systems on which we all rely, like our GP or hospital's computer system.

It means tackling crime revolving around drugs and money and ensuring the safety of the technology we use for electronic payments and to provide personal data. It means working with police and the NCA to improve the low conviction rate for fraud. The brief also includes the vital work of protecting young people who might be at risk of exploitation, by keeping hate speech and dangerous ideology out of schools and universities.

It is vital the men and women in our police, military, crime and security agencies are provided with the resources needed to tackle those who wish to do us harm. As part of this, Labour has committed to recruit 13,000 more neighbourhood police to help make our communities safer and ensure more crimes are investigated.

These actions will help keep Barnsley safe and protect key public services like the NHS and schools from those who wish to do us harm. This work is difficult, but just as I work each day for Barnsley, so I will not rest in my efforts to safeguard our national security.