Pressure mounts on Theresa May as top police chief rejects claim knife crime and cuts not linked
London’s top police chief Cressida Dick has rejected Theresa May’s denial that slashed police numbers and violent crime are not linked.
The Metropolitan Police Commissioner told LBC there is “obviously” a link between cuts to forces and the rising levels of stabbings, after the Prime Minister on Monday said there was "no direct correlation" between the two during a visit to Salisbury.
The spat came after two teenagers were stabbed to death in London and Manchester over the weekend, which Ms Dick referred to as “absolutely ghastly” on the morning show.
Ms Dick said: "If you went back in history, you would see examples of when police officer numbers have gone down and crime has not necessarily risen at the same rate and in the same way.
"But I think that what we all agree on is that in the last few years police officer numbers have gone down a lot, there's been a lot of other cuts in public services, there has been more demand for policing and therefore there must be something and I have consistently said that.
"I agree that there is some link between violent crime on the streets obviously and police numbers - of course there is, and everybody would see that."
Home Secretary Sajid Javid was called to address the Commons yesterday on how the government is tackling knife crime, and said the Government had increased police funding to record levels and launched a consultation on tackling violent crime.
Mr Javid said: “We all wish that there was just one thing that we could do to stop the violence, but there are no shortcuts and there is no one single solution.
“Tackling serious violence requires co-ordinated action on multiple fronts.”
But the Government’s response to the crisis has been deemed inadquate by some MPs.
Former Home Office minister Vernon Coaker told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show that knife crime should be treated like other national emergencies - and urged Mrs May to chair a meeting of the Government’s emergency committee Cobra.
The Labour MP said: "If a terrorist incident occurs, of course we should deal with that really seriously - but this is also something which is a national crisis and a national emergency."
He added: "In the face of many other national emergencies, the government quite rightly bring everybody together at Cobra. That's what they should be doing in respect to knife crime."
Fellow Labour MP Stephen Doughty - a member of parliament's cross-party Home Affairs Committee – has also called for a “total reversal” of police and youth services cuts and branded the Government’s response a "shameful scandal".
He told PoliticsHome: “Tackling this problem requires a comprehensive approach.
"That must include a total reversal of police cuts, especially frontline community policing in cities, a reversal of cuts to youth services and non-school youth activities - which have been totally decimated - and serious intervention with social media companies for content glorifying or connecting those engaged in knife violence.
Mr Doughty added: "The picture across the UK that we see in the Home Affairs Committee is bleak and the government has simply failed to get a grip on this crisis.
"They can find nearly a billion to prepare for Brexit at the Home Office but nowhere near enough for our police in the face of this crisis. It’s a shameful scandal."