Labour joins senior officers in highlighting threat of terrorism
by Our News Desk
GEORGE Osborne repeatedly refused to rule out crippling cuts to front-line policing yesterday, ahead of his spending review.
The Chancellor has finalised deals with Whitehall spending departments in the run-up to Wednesday’s Autumn Statement, which is expected to herald another harsh round of budget reductions.
Several senior police officers have warned against frontline cuts in the wake of the Paris terrorist massacre, saying that they will harm their ability to respond swiftly to any similar attack.
However Mr Osborne said it was right that the police should share the burden of austerity measures.
“Every public service has to make sure it is spending money well,” he told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show. “You cannot have national security without economic security.
“If your budget is out of control, if you are spending money you don’t have, then you can’t keep the country safe, whether on the streets of Britain or indeed in the Middle East.
“We made savings in the police budget in the last parliament and actually the number of neighbourhood police officers went up, the proportion of officers on the front line went up,” he claimed. In fact, an estimated 17,000 police officer posts were lost under the Con-Dem coalition.
But shadow chancellor John McDonnell argued that any cuts to front-line policing “undermine our security.”
Shadow home secretary Andy Burnham MP pointed out: “One of the most senior police officers in the land has written to Osborne to say cuts over 5 per cent would be damaging and over 10 per cent would be dangerous.”
And shadow business secretary Angela Eagle warned that there would be fewer nurses, teachers and police than needed under Mr Osborne’s latest spending plans.
She also dismissed Mr Osborne’s announcement of a 30 per cent increase in counterterrorism spending, accusing him of covering up a £200 million reduction in Metropolitan Police counterterrorism.