A former Senior Investigation Officer of the Metropolitan Police, Peter Kirkham, has accused Theresa May of outright “lying” to the public about the London attacks.
Towards the end of the exchange on Sky News, the interviewer asked:
Just to clarify, you say that the government is lying about the number of armed police officers that are on the streets of the United Kingdom?
Kirkham was responding to the London attacks. Seven people were killed and more than 40 injured when a van drove into pedestrians on London Bridge, and three assailants reportedly began indiscriminately stabbing people.
He told Sky News:
The police service is in crisis as a result of the cuts. They’re being dragged from pillar to post. We hear talk of extra police officers on the street. They’re not extra. They are officers that have had their rare leave days cancelled… they are being drawn from other areas… they are from other duties and they are being burned out.
Austerity and policing
A report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) backs up Kirkham’s position. The IFS investigation shows that Conservative austerity cut 20,000 police officers between 2009 and 2016. Total employment in the police force also fell by 17.4% during the same period.
On Twitter, Kirkham pointed out the importance of ordinary police for combating terrorism:
Kirkham also said that ordinary police provide “100%” of the “initial response”.
In 2015, then Home Secretary May accused the Police Federation of “crying wolf” over its concern about the impact of police cuts. But a recent report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) joins the chorus suggesting otherwise. According to the report, the Conservative government’s austerity programme has left policing in England and Wales in a “potentially perilous state”.
Former Scotland Yard chief Robert Quick also agrees with Kirkham. In 2015, Quick said that police cuts would make it easier for Daesh (Isis) to stage a terrorist attack:
It will make Britain more vulnerable to terrorism. It will damage the police’s ability to counter terrorism if neighbourhood policing is cut. It will lead to a loss of intelligence, a loss of confidence and trust.
Former senior Metropolitan Officer Kirkham was unequivocal: he claims May is lying outright about the police response to the London attacks.
What is certainly clear is that there have been huge cuts to policing since the Conservatives took power. And a number of experts are saying that this puts the UK at higher risk of a terrorist atrocity.
– If you are concerned about friends or family in London, call the Met Police Casualty Unit on 0800 096 1233 or 020 7158 0197.
Featured image via screenshot