Priti Patel said she believes Boris Johnson can successfully boost police numbers by 20,000 within three years if he becomes Prime Minister.
She told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer the leadership frontrunner’s plan to use £1.1 billion of “fiscal headroom” on a police recruitment drive can succeed, despite officer numbers falling under a Conservative government.
“There is no reason that we cannot achieve the increased police number that Boris is proposing and I think actually across our communities residents will support this move,” she said.
“There is fiscal headroom of approximately £26 billion and so really this is about choices. It’s about time we used our fiscal policy levers to support investment and growth in our communities.”
The Essex MP said she has been able to increase police numbers in her own constituency by securing extra funds.
“I can tell you now over the last year we have gone to the government to ask for more money for increased police numbers and that is because of the change in the nature of crime,” she said.
“Crime is an issue, people feel insecure when it comes to crime in their communities and it’s right that as a party that believes in law and order and supports the police that we do much more.”
Chancellor Philip Hammond has warned the leadership candidates to avoid making promises regarding the £26 billion of “fiscal headroom”.
He said the money will be used to deal with the aftermath of a no-deal Brexit, which both Mr Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have pledged to carry out.