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PM accused of misleading public on officer figures

Labour candidate tells David Cameron: 'I'm afraid I simply do not recognise your figures'
Published - 23/11/2015 By - Martin Buhagiar - Police Oracle

The Prime Minister has been accused of misleading Parliament and the public over the number of police officers on the streets following the terror attacks in Paris.

During last week's Prime Minister's questions David Cameron claimed neighbourhood police numbers had increased under the Conservative Government.

However, Labour's London mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan has written to Mr Cameron dismissing his suggestion.

Mr Khan wrote: "Londoners owe a debt of gratitude to the Met Police who do such a sterling job keeping the city safe. But since you became Prime Minister, the ability of the police to do their job has been seriously challenged because of cuts to the number of officers in London.

"Since May 2010, there has been a reduction of 11 per cent in the number of police officers, and a 74 per cent cut in the number of community support officers.

"That is why I was surprised to hear you say 'neighbourhood policing numbers have gone up by 3,800 in the capital city we have seen a 500 percent increase in neighbourhood policing.

"However, I have searched the data and I’m afraid that I simply do not recognise your figures.

"Given recent horrific events in Paris, many Londoners are very worried about how we keep the city safe should a similar attack take place in the capital."

The claim comes with Chancellor George Osborne expected to announce further cuts to police budgets in Wednesday's spending review.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has appealed to Mr Cameron to prevent police cuts in light of the atrocities in Paris.

Last week Police Federation Chairman Steve White warned officers in England and Wales would struggle to cope if a similar terrorist attack occurred in the UK.

He said: “The attacks in Paris demonstrated the need to constantly revise our planned response to this type of incident.

“The attacks were on a scale that would require significant additional investment in specialist firearms roles across the UK to deal with effectively.

Ministers clearly recognise you can’t do anything if you don’t have the people available to do it. Which begs the obvious question as to whether cutting police budgets at this time by up to 40 per cent is a wise policy?”

However, just a week earlier Home Secretary Theresa May warned forces could soon be without their own firearms units.

Mrs May wants to meet chief constables and police and crime commissioners to see how forces could team up to deliver specialist capabilities in "regional organised crime units".

The National Crime Agency (NCA) would be given increased responsibilities against "serious and organised threats".

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