Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tories Question Labour's Numbers on Police Promise

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tories Question Labour's Numbers on Police Promise

Article excerpt

Byline: Jonathan Walker Political Editor jonwalker121

LABOUR'S pledge to recruit an extra 10,000 police officers could mean 860 extra in the North East.

Plans to recruit thousands of community police officers were launched by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott as the general election campaign continued.

It would mean replacing roughly half the 20,000 police officer roles which have been lost since 2010 as a result of cuts.

In Northumbria, Cleveland and Durham police forces, 1,731 officers have been cut, according to figures published by the Home Office.

But Ms Abbott struggled to explain how Labour would pay for the new recruits, in an interview with radio station LBC.

She later said she "mis-spoke" when she gave a string of incorrect figures during the radio interview about her new policing policy.

In one attempt to come up with the bill for the flagship policy, officers would earn just PS30 while a second go left them with PS8,000.

Ms Abbott's assessment of how many new officers would be recruited in the first 12 months of the fouryear plan ranged from 25,000 to 250,000, The shadow cabinet minister told BBC Two's Daily Politics: "I do know my figures. I did seven interviews that morning and that was the seventh and I mis-spoke but I do know my figures."

Ms Abbott later said that funding would increase over five years up to PS298m, which would come to PS29,800 per officer and suggests Labour expects to recruit 10,000 officers over time rather than in the first year of a new government.

Although this makes sense, her initial confusion was quickly seized on by the Conservatives, who claimed it showed that Labour's sums "don't add up".

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: "Diane Abbott has laid bare the chaos that Britain would face if Jeremy Corbyn is voted into Downing Street. …

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