TORY cuts to police funding are forcing senior officers to choose between fighting terror or responding to other crimes.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said yesterday that the London force has come under “huge strain” and that police chiefs face “hard choices.”
She said: “We’ve got emergency calls going up, we’ve got crime going up nationally and in London. Violent crime is a particular problem.
“It’s already putting a huge strain on the system. We are engaged in a conversation with the government about funding.”
Her comments echoed an assessment by National Police Chiefs’ Council head Sara Thornton, who said on Thursday that responding to terrorism has affected other areas of policing.
“Every time there’s a terror attack, we mobilise specialist officers and staff to respond, but the majority of the officers and staff responding come from mainstream policing,” she said. “This puts extra strain on an already stretched service.”
The interventions by two of Britain’s most senior officers have prompted fresh scrutiny of the government’s approach to police funding, which has seen thousands of police jobs lost.
Shadow policing minister Louise Haigh said: “These extraordinary comments from one of the country’s most senior police officers lay bare the Tories’ reckless approach to public safety.
“Senior police leaders are now being forced to speak out because policing has been pushed to breaking point.
“Any government’s first duty is keeping the country safe but it is clear that the Tories are abdicating that responsibility.
“The Prime Minister shamefully accused the police of crying wolf but clearly it is her government that is divorced from reality. You simply cannot protect the public on the cheap.”
The Tories have slashed police budgets since they and the Lib Dems took power in 2010, with 22,000 officers cut.