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Mayors ‘implore’ chancellor to end worrying police cuts in Budget

The Mayors of London and Greater Manchester have joined forces to call for an end to the police funding crisis.

The pair have written to chancellor, Phillip Hammond, urging him to use the coming Autumn Budget to end the real-terms cuts that have hit police budgets since 2010, which they argue jeopardise public safety.

Both cities have been shook by terrorist attacks this year, and with counter-terrorism experts warning that the number of attempted attacks will continue to rise, and violent crime increasing across the country, the two mayors want to keep their cities safe.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority described the police response to the terrorist attacks as “phenomenal,” but the mayors are concerned that staff ability to prevent and respond to any future attacks is at risk due to the funding crisis across England and Wales.

With inflation currently at 2.9%, chief constable Sara Thornton, chair of the National Police Chief’s Council, warned that counter-terror funding will see a real-terms cut of more than 7% over the next three years.

Since 2010, London’s Metropolitan police force has also had to make £600m of cuts, and must find a further £400m in savings by 2021 – which has already led to a loss of 30% of police staff posts and 65% of police community support officer posts.

The cuts have also meant the loss of 120 police buildings and most of London’s police station front counters.

The latest projections show that if the funding crisis does not end now, numbers of police officers in the capital could fall to a dangerous low level of 27,500 by 2021.

Similarly, the Greater Manchester police force has seen cuts of £215m since 2010, which has meant the loss of 1,000 police staff and a quarter of police officers.

In their joint letter to the chancellor, Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, and Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester, said that they are “extremely worried” about the ability of their police forces to keep their cities safe.

“As you know, counter-terrorism experts are warning that the increase in attacks and attempted attacks this year is not a blip, but a sustained rise,” they explained. “And this is against the backdrop of crime rising across the country and violent crime rising even faster.

“We urge you to use the Budget on 22 November to end the real-term cuts that our police service have undergone since 2010, and to put public safety first.

“To put it bluntly, if you continue with real-terms cuts you will be putting at risk the safety of those who live, work and visit our cities without an end to the years of real-term cuts.

“We implore you to use the Budget to ensure the continued safety of the people who live and work in our great cities and the millions of visitors we receive each year.

“We need a real-terms increase in police funding, ensuring that the national and international work that the police in our cities do on behalf of the rest of the country is properly funded.”

Top photo: Joe Giddens, PA Wire edit

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