Theresa May facing resignation calls over police cuts

Police officer numbers in Britain have been cut by 20,000 over the past 6 years

Theresa May facing resignation calls over police cuts

British Prime Minister Theresa May speaks on the General Election campaign trail in London, 05-06-2017. Image: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire/PA Images

The leader of the British Labour party has backed a call for Theresa May to resign over her record on police cuts, following the London Bridge terror attack.

His comments come after Mrs May defended her record amid increasing pressure over a 20,000 drop in the number of officers on the streets in the last six years.

Mrs May oversaw the cuts during her time as home secretary.

Seven people lost their lives and 48 were injured in the attack in central London on Saturday night.

In a question and answer session on the campaign trail on Monday, Mrs May repeatedly refused to say she was wrong to cut police numbers while she was in the Home Office.

The Prime Minister insisted that counter-terrorism policing budgets had been protected and that the Government had funded an increase in firearms officers.

Police cuts

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accused Mrs May of trying to "protect the public on the cheap" by cutting 20,000 police officers, despite a Police Federation warning over public safety.

When asked if he would back calls for Mrs May's resignation, Mr Corbyn said: "Indeed I would, because there's been calls made by a lot of very responsible people on this who are very worried that she was at the Home Office for all this time, presided over these cuts in police numbers and is now saying that we have a problem.”

“Yes, we do have a problem,” he said. “We should never have cut the police numbers."

However, he added that the public were best placed to deal with Mrs May's position as Prime Minister when they vote on Thursday.

David Cameron's former aide Steve Hilton has also called for Mrs May to go and said she should have taken responsibility for the cuts she made while at the Home Office.

Well resourced

Mrs May said: "The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police has said that the Met is well-resourced - and they are - and that they have very powerful counter-terrorism capabilities - and they do.

“We have protected counter-terrorism policing budgets,” she said.

"We have also provided funding for an increase in the number of armed police officers since 2015. We have protected our all police budgets."

Police resource review

However, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick told Sky News on Monday morning that the changing nature of the terror threat meant it was time to review police resources - particularly in neighbourhood policing.

Ms Dick has said that in the light of the changing terror threat, with thousands of people prepared to carry out "low tech" attacks, resources and strategy should be reviewed.

She said that police and intelligence agencies had foiled 18 plots since 2013 - five in the last nine weeks - and that there was a "high volume of people who want to attack us."

She added that she hoped the pace of the attacks in the last nine weeks would not become the "new normal."

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said London was getting half the funding for policing that it should be getting for a capital city and that policing in the capital was facing a £400m cut over the next four years.

He said that while the Met Police did a brilliant job despite the cuts, they needed more resources.