Theresa May has issued a stark warning to the Police Federation, telling the organisation that the “crying wolf has to stop” regarding complaints over budget cuts.
The home secretary was defiant in the face of criticisms of the government’s record from the organisation which represents rank and file officers, highlighting that crime had fallen by more than a quarter since 2010 when she took office.
Earlier, the Federation published the findings of a survey which found that 33 of 43 police forces had either cut their neighbourhood teams or merged them with other departments since 2010, prompting the organisations' chairman to warn that neighbourhood policing was "just one of the endangered species in the new streamlined barren policing landscape".
Frontline: police detective
Frontline thoughts from a former police call centre worker: 'Targets were a huge burden'
Home Office back proposal to amend Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984
But May told delegates: “This kind of scaremongering does nobody any good. It doesn't serve you, it doesn't serve the officers you represent and it doesn't service the public."
The home secretary said there was "no ducking the fact" that police funding will be reduced over the next parliament, but the previous five years had illustrated it was possible "to do more with less".
The Conservative MP also used her speech to announce a ban on police detention in cells of children with mental health issues. The law will be part of a £15m raft of measures to provide health-based alternatives for the 4,000 people a year detained in cells under the Mental Health Act, and will feature in the the policing and sentencing bill due to be unveiled in next week's Queen's speech.