POLICING is improving on the streets of Swindon because the Government is pumping more cash into bobbies on the beat.

That was the verdict of Environment Secretary Hilary Benn who paid a flying visit to the town yesterday.

During his time here, the Adver asked if Swindon, earmarked by Government for massive expansion over the next 20 years, should get more development funding.

"We are already investing millions," he replied.

"Why is there a Neighbourhood Policing Team in Swindon? Why are there more community support officers? This is because we are putting more into communities. The Government is putting in cash where it matters to make things happen.

"This just shows that politics do make a difference.

"When people think an area has less funding, they blame the Government.

"But local authorities have to work with the Government to ensure things happen."

During his whistle-stop visit to Swindon, the Leeds MP went to the Edinburgh Street play area with South Swindon MP Anne Snelgrove.

There, she told him that Swindon had missed out on funding to develop more play areas as the Government had allocated the cash elsewhere.

"I want our area to get this funding as quickly as possible so we can start to develop and rebuild children's play areas across our community, benefiting thousands of children and families in our area," she said.

"I also want to make sure the local community is fully involved in deciding how and where this funding should be spent.

"That's why I want to hear the views of local parents on which play areas should be a priority.

"I hope the council will think about applying for Pathfinder status in 2009 for the next round of funding towards play areas.

"I would urge them to do so."

Mr Benn said: "It is extremely important that children have play areas.

"It is a vital part of their childhood. It is a way for them to let off steam."

The Environment Minister also met members of Swindon Climate Action Network (SCAN).

"I think that SCAN is an important organisation," he told the Adver. "Everyone's got a part to play when it comes to climate change.

"Every individual can do something to reduce his or her carbon footprint."