By Ray Fleming

ON BBC Radio 4's Today programme yesterday morning the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, widened the division between himself and the government by saying he believes there is no case for cutting police budgets in present circumstances, and he made clear that he was speaking about forces throughout the country, not just those in London.

The response from No 10 Downing Street was fast and sharp: “The reduction in police budgets are manageable. There is no question that the police will still have the resources they need for their important work.”

The cuts in question are of the order of 15 per cent over the next two years, comparable to those being imposed on Britain's defence budget.
But only last week the Parliamentary Select Committee on Defence stated unequivocally that such cuts leave considerable doubt about the ability of the Armed Forces to “undertake all that is being asked of them”.

If a similar Select Committee were able to look at the cuts facing the police might it not also question whether they will be able to “undertake all that is being asked of them”?

It is that spin-word “managed” that is so wrong.
Anything can be “managed”, for better or worse. But the issue is whether the police, like the Armed Forces, will be able to do what the nation expects of them.


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