CUTS to the counter-terrorism budget of 7.2 per cent mean the government is ‘failing in its duty’, claims West Midlands police and crime commissioner David Jamieson.
He said he was responding to confirmation of the precise figure from Britain’s most senior police officer, Sara Thornton, despite previous denials by Prime Minister Theresay May.
Mr Jamieson said: “I’m very concerned. These figures suggest nationally we could lose around 1,000 counter-terror police officers in just three years.
“In the West Midlands it could mean we lose nearly 1 in 10 of our 700 counter-terror officers.
“The government is failing in its duty to give the police the funding they need to protect the public.
“Britain’s most senior officer, Sara Thornton has confirmed counter-terror funding for the police will fall by 7.2 per cent by 2020 – something Theresa May denied when asked at Prime Minister’s questions in June.
“That doesn’t tell the whole story though. Neighbourhood policing has been cut to the bone and with it crucial streams of intelligence have been lost. It is only with the confidence of our communities that we can police and manage the growing threats we face.
“When the terrorism threat level was raised to critical recently, the truth is neighbourhood policing stopped across the country. There is not the capacity in policing to allow officers to respond to the terror threat, guard crowded places and provide neighbourhood policing at the same time.
“In the West Midlands it costs us £100,000 a day whilst at the critical terror threat level and for some days after. Officers doing longer shifts then need to be rested, meaning the return to normal neighbourhood policing duties can take up to a week.
“The Chancellor of the Exchequer’s budget in November gives the government the chance to do the right thing and give police forces the funding they need to keep us all safe.
“Real terms increases in funding are required to enable police forces to carry on their crucial work, to tackle ever more complicated crimes and threats and ensure neighbourhood policing is provided for our communities.”