Minister Skewered After Claiming Tories Are About To Recruit Record Number Of Police Officers

"Are you sure?" BBC Breakfast Sally Nugent asked.
Chris Philp was skewered live on air over his claim that there will be record-breaking numbers of police officers by the end of the month
Chris Philp was skewered live on air over his claim that there will be record-breaking numbers of police officers by the end of the month
Ian Forsyth via Getty Images

Chris Philp was put under pressure when speaking to morning breakfast show hosts on Monday as he claimed police officers numbers were about to reach record highs.

The policing minister repeatedly said the government is coming up with a new action plan to tackle crime, including an injection of new funding and a recruitment of an extra 20,000 police officers.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Philp said: “By the end of this month, we are on track to have met that target and when we’ve done that, we will have more police officers across England and Wales then we’ve ever had anytime, in this country’s history.”

“Are you sure?” host Sally Nugent cut in.

Philp lent forward and said: “Sorry?”

The breakfast host repeated: “Are you sure?

“Because I’m just looking at my notes here – between March 2010 and September 2017 there was a fall in police numbers of 21,085.

“So the 20,000 that you’re talking about would only bring us back up to the level that we used to be at before the cuts.”

The Tory MP just said that there had already been an increase between 2017 and 2019.

He explained: “The previous peak was in 2010, at 145,000 police officers.

“We are on track by the end of March – we’ll have the figures confirmed in a few weeks’ time – but we believe we’re on track to deliver 149,000 more officers.

“That is 4,000 more than the previous peak.”

But, Bowles pointed out: “But it’s not an extra 20,000 police officers over the last decade or so.”

The minister insisted: “It’s an extra 20,000 police officers compared to the 2019 starting point and it’s an extra 4,000 compared to the peak in 2010.”

In a separate interview, Sky News’ Kay Burley also scrutinised Philp over the Tories’ previous decisions to cut police numbers by 21,000 when David Cameron was elected.

She said: “It’s never a good idea to cut police though, is it?”

Philp tried to justify the move by claiming the previous Labour government had “bankrupt the country” so the Conservatives were left with no choice but to reduce officer numbers.

Meanwhile, as reported in POLITICO’s London Playbook, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper predicted that the government would not be able to meet its target of 20,000 extra officers by the end of March.

She said: “In too many towns and neighbourhoods nothing is being done about nightmare anti-social behaviour and crime because there just aren’t any police.

“All we get from Tory ministers is empty rhetoric — if they won’t put the police back on the beat then it doesn’t matter what they say, anti-social behaviour will keep getting worse.”


What's Hot