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Anti-terror chief Mark Rowley warns over ‘difficult choices’ in policing

The demand for more detectives in areas such as child abuse has prevent counter-terrorism policing being at full strength, he said.

Britain’s leading anti-terror police chief has warned the public could be at risk if officers are diverted to fight terrorism.

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley warned Home Secretary Amber Rudd that counter-terrorism policing was not able to operate at “full strength”, in a letter reportedly seen by the BBC.

“The demand for increasing numbers of detectives in areas such as child abuse has prevented this,” he reportedly wrote.

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Police officers at a cordon near the Seven Sisters Road (PA)

He also warned there would be “difficult choices” about where to put resources, according to the BBC.

“It will inevitably push risk to other areas of policing, potentially with significant impact,” he reportedly said.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said resources have been “tested” by recent terror attacks.

“We are facing an unprecedented terror threat and it is no surprise that our resources are currently tested against what is now four terrorist attacks and five thwarted plots in very short succession,” a spokesman said.

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(PA graphic)

“Police chiefs, within the counter-terrorism network and beyond, have been clear that, while everything is being done to keep people safe, we are facing an extremely challenging period.

“As you would expect, we are having discussions with the Government about police funding in the long term. We are also looking at our resilience over the coming months and have agreed plans across policing to confront the heightened threat and protect our communities.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “Keeping families, communities and our country safe is this Government’s priority. “After the recent horrific attacks, the Government and police are in complete agreement that we must review our counter-terrorism strategy to tackle the changing threat.

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Police officers at a cordon after the London Bridge attack (PA)

“Alongside this we remain committed to increasing cross-government spending on counter-terrorism by 30%, from £11.7 billion to £15.1 billion.

“This Government has also protected overall police funding in real terms, we are providing £144 million to increase armed policing capability and funding for an additional 1,900 officers at our security and intelligence agencies.”

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