“The home secretary, Amber Rudd, has denied that cuts in police forces contributed to Monday’s terror atrocity in Manchester.
Rudd was confronted on BBC1’s Question Time on Thursday night by a member of the studio audience who said Theresa May had been warned by the Police Federation that cuts in frontline officers would undermine their ability to gather low-level intelligence about possible threats. Rudd insisted that the majority of such intelligence came from community leaders operating within the Prevent counter-terrorism programme, rather than from police officers on the street.
The audience member said: “We are 20,000 police officers down and we get atrocities like this. Does the government not expect this?” Rudd responded: “I don’t accept that. I have asked the head of counter-terrorism whether this is about resources. It is not.
“There may a conversation to have about policing, we may have that at some stage. But now is not that conversation. We must not imply that this terrorist activity may not have taken place if there had been more policing.”
Beneath Abbott’s police funding gaffes, Labour’s numbers make sense
The home secretary added: “Good counter-terrorism is when you have close relationships between the policing and intelligence services. That is what we have. That is why the UK has a strong counter-terrorism network. It’s also about making sure we get in early on radicalisation. But it’s not about those pure numbers on the street.”
The audience member replied: “I think it is about police numbers, because it is low-level intelligence that gives you the information.” …”