An extra £160million is to be ploughed into helping Britain’s police fight the growing threat of terrorism.
It emerged last week that Scotland Yard and the security services are running a record high of more than 700 live investigations into suspected terrorists.
Chancellor Philip Hammond today unveiled a new pot of money to make sure authorities can keep pace with the spiralling problem.
An extra £160million is to be ploughed into anti-terror policing after today’s budget
The extra money announced today is said to be the equivalent of 1,000 extra officers.
The new fund is being pushed as a signal that ‘austerity’ policies are finished and the government is again investing in public services.
Police officer numbers have fallen by 21,000 since 2010, prompting a series of warnings by top police officers that continued squeezing of budgets will have an impact of levels of crime.
Last week, Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu told the Home Affairs Select Committee the battle against terrorism is ‘entirely’ dependent on well-resourced local police forces.
He said: ‘It is extremely difficult for counter terror policing when we are constantly working to short-term funding arrangements. A longer-term funding settlement would greatly assist.’
Philip Hammond unveiled the new cash during this budget statement in Parliament today
He said: ‘I would like to tell you that we are matched to the current threat, but the reality is we are not.
‘We start from a position of strength: we have a national police, security service and government tripartite approach to countering terrorism honed over decades. It is world-class.
‘But, matching the new threat requires new ways of working and for us to maintain our resources. We are working closely with the Home Office who have been supportive.’
In June, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said it was naïve to think that police cuts had not fuelled violent crime in the capital.
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said last year that the Met Police has had to make £600 million of cuts since 2010.
The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said his city’s police force has faced cuts of £215m in the same time frame.