Cabinet minister Karen Bradley admits police numbers have been cut
A Cabinet minister today admitted police numbers have been cut as part of the Conservative drive towards austerity.
Karen Bradley said there had been “reductions in police numbers across the board” but insisted funding for forces and security had increased.
Labour has accused Theresa May of cutting police numbers by 20,000 during her time as Home Secretary and trying to “protect the public on the cheap”.
The row comes after three jihadis launched a terror rampage in London Bridge on Saturday, killing seven and injuring 48 as they mowed pedestrians down with a van and stabbed pub-goers.
Police were on the scene and had shot dead all three attackers within eight minutes. But questions have been raised over whether one of the suspects had been reported to police before.
Questioned on the BBC’s Today programme this morning as to whether it was true police numbers have been cut, Culture Secretary Ms Bradley said they had.
“We have seen reductions in police numbers across the board and that was because we had to take difficult decisions in 2010 when we came into office, when as you remember there was no money,” she said.
A Conservative source told PoliticsHome: “The number of armed police is being increased. The 1,500 armed uplift which we are in the middle of completing will put the numbers above 2010 levels.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn last night said: "You cannot protect the public on the cheap. The police and security services must get the resources they need, not 20,000 police cuts.
"Theresa May was warned by the Police Federation but she accused them of ‘crying wolf’.
"We will recruit another 10,000 new police officers, including more armed police, as well as 1,000 more security services staff to support our communities and help keep us safe."
Met Police commissioner Cressida Dick today told the BBC: “We would always want more resources and we need to use those resources even more effectively.”
A Tory spokesperson said: ‘We are supporting the excellent work of the police by providing record funding for counter terror policing.
“We are providing £144m over the next five years to increase armed policing, and providing an additional 1,900 officers across the three security agencies so that we can better respond to the threat we face from international terrorism, cyber-attacks and other global risks.
“And our record speaks for itself: crime is down by a third since 2010.”