Police chief warns of rise in crime
Cuts in police budgets could lead to a rise in crime, one of Britain's most senior officers has said.
Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, told the Huffington Post UK it was possible that reductions in police numbers - thought to be at least 16,000 lost posts by 2015 - could spark an increase in crime.
"Is it foreseeable that crime will increase if the cuts continue to bite? Answer, yes it probably is," Sir Hugh said. "Or will crime start to increase - yes that is a real possibility. Our job is to keep that to an absolute minimum."
Sir Hugh also denied that police were inherently racist. There has been a catalogue of complaints against officers in the Metropolitan Police in recent months, with a wave of separate allegations of racism under investigation by Scotland Yard and the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
Sir Hugh rejected the accusation of a wider problem with racism in the police, arguing the "power of the media" had distorted the picture.
"Is this an endemically racist police service - no it isn't. Will you get individuals who behave way outside the bounds of respectability, yes you will," he said.
"You have to do deal with it very robustly, very quickly and very effectively, and my sense is that is what the Met commissioner is doing. ...I don't think there is endemic or institutional racism in policing."
He added that the police were not institutionally corrupt: "The best indicator of corrupt cops for me - do we prosecute police officers for speeding? All the time. You ask cops in other countries if they'd prosecute another cop for speeding, they'd look at you in abject horror."
Sir Hugh went on to say that police forces would have to think very carefully before deploying so-called "plastic bullets" in any new riots. He deployed them himself when head of the police in Northern Ireland.
He said: "The British model of policing is minimum use of force, minimum infringement on the rights of the citizen and routinely unarmed service. The role of the police is to use what is appropriate. If any of the police had killed someone with a baton round that's a legacy that will last three or four generations."