A Labour MP who raised a string of fatal knife attacks during Prime Minister’s Questions says Theresa May ‘clearly had no idea’ about the incidents.
Marie Rimmer asked the PM what was being done to tackle violent crime following two stabbings in her Merseyside constituency, which left two people dead.
In her response, May said the government had protected police budgets in real terms - but failed to acknowledge the fact lives had been lost.
“I am sure the sympathies of the whole House are with those who have been so injured and stabbed in the way that the honourable lady has referred to,” she said.
“We are concerned about crimincal acts of this sort that take place.
“But we have been protecting police budgets. We do see higher percentage of officers actually on the front line.”
Afterwards Rimmer told HuffPost UK: “I don’t expect her to be aware of every single individual incident, but I was listed to ask a question and I would have expected her to be better briefed. She clearly had no idea the people involved had died.
″When I raised the issue of police cuts, Amber Rudd was sitting next to her and she looked worried.
“How she can stand up and say police budgets have been protected is beyond me. It is just not true. She has absolutely no idea of the reality of what is going on on our streets.”
Residents in Prescot, a town in Rimmer’s St Helens South and Whiston constituency, were shocked by the deaths of 54-year-old Tommy Grace and 29-year-old Adam Ellison, which happened just weeks apart.
The MP said people no longer feel safe in their communities and that Merseyside Police had lost more than 700 officers in recent years.
“Violent Crime is up 20% and Merseyside police officer numbers are down by 22%,” she added.
“Police budgets are not being protected in Merseyside. That is the reality.
“We’ve seen a huge decrease in the number of police community support officers, and they were absolutely key in building trust with people locally and obtaining information.
“People cannot see police on the streets any more, they do not feel safe. To say there are more officers on our streets is just not true.
“This is what’s happening in Merseyside, but that is just a snapshot of the picture across the whole country and things are only going to get worse.”
This week, former Labour minister Vernon Coaker requested an urgent statement be made in the Commons on police funding.
In response, Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom said figures showed crime was down overall and that the government had protected police budgets.