Row as Govt insists crime rise not due to police cuts

By Greg Heffer, Political Reporter
Jeremy Corbyn has accused the Prime Minister and Home Secretary of "ignoring their record on security" as Government ministers denied cuts to police numbers are to blame for an increase in violent crime.
The Labour leader attacked Theresa May and Amber Rudd for having "cut 21,000 police officers from our streets", amid a fresh focus on resources in the wake of a spate of stabbings and shootings in London.However Ms Rudd, writing in the Sunday Telegraph, dismissed the idea there are not enough officers on Britain's streets, claiming the evidence "does not support this" as she also pointed to police funding being protected.She said: "While I understand that police are facing emerging threats and new pressures - leading us to increase total investment in policing - the evidence does not bear out claims that resources are to blame for rising violence."
Row as Govt insists crime rise not due to police cuts

London has suffered a spate of stabbings and shootings
Ms Rudd's position was backed by a string of fellow ministers on Sunday.Communities Secretary Sajid Javid told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: "Go back a decade, serious violent crime was a lot, lot higher than it is today, but so were the police numbers."So, for anyone to suggest this is caused by police numbers, it is not backed up by the facts."Home Office minister Victoria Atkins told Sky News' Sunday with Niall Paterson show: "We have to look at the evidence and a great deal of thought has gone into this and we review it constantly."But, we know that in 2008, when there was a similar spike in knife crime, there were many, many more officers on the beat then than there are now."So, it's not as simple as just talking about police numbers."Asked why Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick announced 300 extra officers a day are being deployed in London this weekend in response to recent violence, Ms Atkins added: "Of course, it's down to police constables and police and crime commissioners or the Mayor of London to decide what's best on the streets of their locality to tackle this."
Row as Govt insists crime rise not due to police cuts

London violence fuelled by 'pressure' not 'drugs'
In response to recent violence, former Scotland Yard chief Lord Blair has declared the capital doesn't have enough officers "visible on the street".Policing Minister Nick Hurd admitted police are "stretched" but told BBC Radio 5 Live: "There's a political accusation that somehow a reduction in police numbers has been a driver of this horrendous spike in violence but that's categorically not the case."Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott claimed Mr Hurd's admission meant the Tories had finally revealed "the truth about the state of police funding on their watch, after years of insisting they have protected police resources".
"We simply cannot protect the public on the cheap," she added.Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner accused Ms Rudd of sticking her "head in the sand" and being "very naive" over the impact of a reduction in police numbers.The row came as the Government announced the introduction of the Offensive Weapon Bill to restrict access to some of the most dangerous weapons, including corrosive substances.Ms Rudd will also launch the Government's Serious Violence Strategy on Monday.
Row as Govt insists crime rise not due to police cuts

Govt cuts led to 'breeding ground for knife crime'
Shadow policing minister Louise Haigh, a former special constable, called for a "public health approach" to tackling violent crime, involving not just the police.Speaking to Sky News' Niall Paterson, Ms Haigh claimed no research had been carried out into knife crime since 2006.She said: "We don't know what the impact of austerity or indeed of the changes around social media have had on why young people are carrying knives and that should have been there in today's announcement from the Government on their serious violence strategy."Ms Rudd also used her newspaper article to insist the Government will "not allow the scourge of violence to infect our communities", while she backed stop and search as a "vital policing tool"."Officers will always have the Government's full support to use these powers properly," she added.The recent spate of violence has led to scrutiny of a reduction in stop and search activity and Mrs May's decision, when she was home secretary, to reform the way the power was used.However, Mr Javid defended the Prime Minister's record.
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"What she wanted to do was rightly make sure that when stop and search powers were used that they were used within the law," he said.The Government's plans for the Offensive Weapon Bill will include a public consultation on extending stop and search powers to enable the police to search for and seize acid from people carrying it in public without good reason.
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