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Police officers warn against cuts after Paris terror attacks

Published 20/11/2015

Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham has issued a fresh warning against imposing swingeing cuts on police forces
Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham has issued a fresh warning against imposing swingeing cuts on police forces

Cuts to officer numbers will "severely impact" on the ability of the police to deal with a Paris-style attack, the Home Secretary has been warned.

In a letter sent to Mrs May following the atrocity, senior police officers said that mainstream policing is crucial in tackling terrorism.

Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham has issued a fresh warning against imposing swingeing cuts on police forces as the government finalises the details of next week's spending review, which is set to squeeze budgets further.

The letter on police preparedness, which was sent by senior officials following a meeting of the emergency cobra committee in the wake of the killing spree, states: "Police forces across England and Wales have already seen a reduction of 40,000 officers and further losses will severely impact on our surge capacity..."

Mr Burnham, along with police chiefs across the country, has called on the government to rethink on cuts to policing budgets.

Labour has warned that savings above 10% would be "dangerous and put public safety at risk".

In a letter to the Home Secretary, Mr Burnham said: "Given the events in Paris last weekend we repeat our belief that it would be unwise to ask the police to deliver further difficult savings above 5% over the next five years."

He added: " Reductions in mainstream policing will not only significantly impact on the 'surge' ability of the police to provide the additional support required at an emergency incident, but cuts to neighbourhood policing will have a detrimental effect on local intelligence gathering and countering terrorism."

A National Police Chiefs' Council spokeswoman said: " Following the tragic terrorist attack in Paris last week, we have been reviewing our ability to respond to a well organised, multi-sited terrorist in the UK. Our officers are well trained and equipped and we are constantly evolving to meet the threat from terrorism.

"As you would expect, we are discussing our capacity to respond to an attack like the one in Paris with the Government. These discussions include assessments of the number of officers we have to counter terrorism and the impact of future funding cuts.

"We do not comment on leaked documents, which form part of these important discussions."

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