Police cuts not fuelling rise in violent crime, says Rudd

Amber Rudd says forces have the funding to tackle the violence on Britain’s streets

The Home Secretary says she ordered the study which found criminals may have been "encouraged" by a reduction in police numbers.

The government says it does not comment on leaked documents but had rejected claims officer numbers were a factor.

"Even if ministers choose to disagree with officials on whether police cuts contributed to the rise in knife crime, the Home Office still needs to address the central question about whether there are enough neighbourhood police to bring knife crime down again, at a time when the police already say they are heavily overstretched".

"I think that you do a disservice to the communities and the families by making this a political tit-for-tat about police numbers", she said.

"We have to be led by the evidence and we know that in the most recent spikes in knife crime, there were many more police on the streets", she told Sky News Sunrise.

"When the government first announced they were unveiling this new strategy we hoped that at long last there would be some meaningful solutions to tackle the rise in violent crime".

Home Secretary Amber Rudd unveiled the report this morning but was immediately forced to explain to glaring omission of analysis of the impact of 20,000 police officers being cut in 10 years.

During a speech Amber Rudd said "county lines drug dealing has become an increasingly popular way of dealing drugs" and referenced a conversation with Norfolk Constabulary's Chief Constable Simon Bailey in which "he made it clear what a problem this is for local police forces". "We need to be getting to these young people before they make that bad decision to pick up a knife".

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The Home Secretary is expected to call for platforms to spell out explicitly that such material is forbidden on their sites.

Meanwhile a former police officer said that younger officers were "afraid" to use stop and search, as figures showed its use has fallen.

She will also emphasise that stop and search is a "vital" tool and announce ministers are looking at extending the powers so police can seize acid from suspects carrying it in public without good reason.

Work on the wide-ranging package of measures against violence started a year ago but it has been finalised against a backdrop of mounting calls for action following a wave of deadly violence in London.

The wave of violence has sparked fresh scrutiny of police budgets, declining officer numbers and reductions in the use of stop and search.

It comes on the same day Ms Rudd launches a £40m Serious Violence Strategy to tackle violent drug gangs and introduce prevention inventive.

It will include a new offence of possessing acid in a public place, prevent sales of acids to under-18s and stop knives being sent to people's homes when bought on the internet, following concerns that age verification checks can be sidestepped online.

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