5 March 2019
The Prime Minister is delusional for failing to acknowledge the link between a scourge of youth knife crime and cuts to officer numbers, says the chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales.
Figures obtained by Channel 4 Dispatches revealed the number of children in England aged 16 and under being stabbed rose by 93% between 2016 and 2018.
Since 2010, continued cuts to the service have resulted in 21,000 fewer officers and 7,000 Police Community Support Officers - meaning fewer officers on our streets to tackle the crimes set out in the government’s serious violent crime strategy.
However, Theresa May has today insisted there was "no direct correlation" between police cuts and knife crime and stressed there was a "cross-Government" response to the problem.
National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales John Apter, said: “Our Prime Minister is delusional, steadfastly refusing to acknowledge what is plain for everyone else to see, and in the face of a national crisis that is deeply concerning.
“Policing has been stripped to the bone and the consequences are clear - splashed across newspapers front pages and TV news bulletins; children being murdered on our streets.
“What makes this all the more sickening is that it was predicted. This is the true cost of austerity that we warned of but were ridiculed for doing so. Theresa May herself accused the Police Federation of ‘crying wolf’ when we highlighted our concerns. Those concerns have become a reality but still the Prime Minister fails to accept the harsh truth.”
It also discovered the number of police recorded offenders aged under 18-years-old committing homicides using a knife or sharp instrument, rose by 77% from 26 to 46 from 2016 to 2018.
The shocking revelation comes in the wake of the murders of Yousef Ghaleb Makki and Jodie Chesney who were both 17.
“We need now is less talk and more action, fewer policies and more police officers - boots on the ground, out there on our streets making a real difference, protecting our youngsters. Yet politicians, who have in their power to make this effective and meaningful change, choose to merely tinker around the edges with new-look ASBOs and catchy hashtags. Mr Apter added. “This is bigger than party politics, the government need to treat this as the national emergency it is and reinvest to ensure our public services are able to respond effectively to this crisis.
“The public deserve better, they need our so called leaders to step up and lead, to stop the bloodshed and end this criminal waste of young life.”
Home Secretary Sajid Javid has since announced he will be chairing a roundtable with chief constables on Wednesday to tackle the crisis.