The prime minister had fair warning on police cuts.
Austerity’s chickens are coming home to roost.
In the final days of this general election campaign, Theresa May wants to trumpet her supposed commitment to keeping Britain secure. She wants to accuse Jeremy Corbyn of taking the side of terrorists and opposing legislation to keep Britons safe.
But instead, she’s facing an onslaught of questions about why she, in her six years as home secretary, presided over extensive cuts to the police service, reducing the number of officers and seriously undermining neighbourhood policing. The public are looking for answers and, rightly, are demanding that the prime minister — who has done more to shape policing in Britain today than any other politician — answer her fair share of questions.
We all know the PM doesn’t like scrutiny, she doesn’t like having her policies questioned. That’s why she’s refused to take part in any televised debates during this election campaign. But on police cuts, it’s not like she didn’t have fair warning.
In 2015, the Police Federation — which represents 120,000 of the nation’s officers — warned the then-home secretary that ‘cuts have consequences’. Indeed, that was the theme of their annual conference, at which May spoke.
But instead of taking their concerns seriously, and bringing them back to cabinet, she delivered a blunt rebuke, accusing the federation of scaremongering.
Here is the key section of the speech: