The chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council has called on the Government to rethink police funding after the recent spree of terrorist attacks on British soil.
Sara Thornton has published a blog on the council's website, stating she had real concerns about the future of police funding.
Thornton said that, in the recent attack on Parsons Green, “once again we saw our police officers and staff, with other emergency services, respond with skill and bravery – many working long hours playing their part in the substantial security effort.
“In response to this significant threat, the Government is increasing the money it spends on terrorism from £11.7 to £15.1 billion, but only about £700 million per annum is spent on policing. And the allocation of this budget for policing is set to be cut by 7.2% in the next three years.
"When the volume and nature of threat is growing alarmingly, that is a real concern.”
With each new attack, there is further strain on an already stretched service, she wrote.
Thornton said: “In the response to the Manchester attack, three quarters of the resources deployed came from mainstream policing. This disrupts the daily work of policing on which the public rely, it creates backlogs of incidents in our control rooms and results in a slower response to the public.
“With officer numbers at 1985 levels, crime up 10 per cent in the last year and police work becoming ever more complex, this additional pressure is not sustainable. The current flat cash settlement for forces announced in 2015 is no longer enough.”
Chiefs are particularly concerned about the resilience of local neighbourhood policing, she said, and that the lack of officers in neighbourhoods would come at a cost of communities’ trust, “at a time when we need people to have the confidence to share information with us”.
Ms Thornton added: “Experts tell us that the spate of attacks in the UK and Europe are a shift not a spike in the threat, which will take 20 or 30 years to eliminate. This new normality necessitates an open minded dialogue with Government about how we respond; and our resources have got to be part of the conversation.”