Senior Officer: Fighting Terror ‘Puts Unsustainable Strain on Police’


British police are under “unsustainable” pressure due to the nation’s fight against mostly Islamist terror, the head of the National Police Chiefs’ Council has said.

Chief Constable Sara Thornton said resources were being diverted from normal policing duties in England and Wales, leading to backlogs in control rooms and slower response times.

The strain is “causing real problems” and is “frankly unsustainable”, she insisted.

Following major attacks in Westminster and Borough Market, Central London, the army was deployed to the streets to free up officers to investigate the attacks.

Ms. Thornton told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “When we respond to the sorts of attacks we saw only a week ago, it’s not just our counter-terrorist police units, but the whole system of policing that responds.

“The current level of terrorism, added to the strain and stress the force is already under, is causing real problems and is frankly unsustainable.”

She said having officer numbers at 1985 levels and crime figures up 10 per cent in the last year created additional pressures. UKIP has made similar points, promising to increase police numbers.

“After the Manchester attack, of the officers and staff that responded, three-quarters were paid for out of mainstream policing.”

The UK has been hit by five Islamist terror attacks in 2017, leaving 35 innocent people dead. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said on the 22nd of September that her force would “have to make hard choices in the future”.

Ms. Dick, who is in talks with the government over securing more funding for the Met, told LBC: “This is a shifting threat, not a spike, that puts a strain, not just on counter-terror police but neighbourhood officers.”

“This is not sustainable for my police service,” she added.

In an earlier blog post, Ms. Thornton wrote: “Fewer officers and Police Community Support Officers will cut off the intelligence that is so crucial to preventing attacks.

“Withdrawal from communities risks undermining their trust in us, at a time when we need people to have the confidence to share information with us.”


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