Top anti-terror officer alarmist, says minister
Britain's most senior counter-terrorism officer was publicly rebuked by a Government minister yesterday after warning that planned spending cuts could not be delivered without increasing the risk of a terrorist attack.
Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said public servants should not indulge in “shroud waving” and should be concentrating on getting costs down rather than “alarming the public”.
The highly public spat erupted after Scotland Yard's Assistant Commissioner John Yates said counter-terrorism officers would have to make savings in the region of £150 million as part of “eye-watering” Treasury cuts.
He said that shaving 25% from the police budget — as Chancellor George Osborne suggested in his emergency Budget last week — risked weakening defences against al Qaida.
His comments were made during a private session at the Association of Chief Police Officers conference in Manchester but details of his speech were disclosed by a delegate.