Inscrit le: 13 Oct 2018
|Posté le: Mer 17 Oct - 11:25 (2018) Sujet du message: leading front bench opposition
|" LONDON Derrick Nnadi Chiefs Jersey , Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- A leading front bench opposition politician has called on the government to scrap proposals that would take away millions of dollars from Britain's anti-terrorism budget.
The call by Labour's shadow minister for security Nick Thomas-Symonds comes in the wake of the latest in a series of terror attacks that have hit London and the northern city of Manchester this year.
It also follows concerns raised by police representatives and security advisers about threats to Britain from extremists, and a crisis over policing budgets. Labour has said cuts in police spending has made Britain more vulnerable.
Last week's bomb on the London Underground led to about 30 people injured, mostly victims trampled on in a stampede to escape. A number of the victims were hurt by the flash caused by a homemade device which failed to properly detonate. Had it fully exploded, it would have caused catastrophic injuries and almost certainly deaths in the crowded rush-hour train carriage.
Thomas-Symonds said he has unearthed documents which reveal plans by the Conservative government to reduce the budget of the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism (OSCT) by around 68 million U.S. dollars to just over 1.2 billion U.S. dollars in the next two years.
OSCT is the frontline agency tasked with tackling the growing problem of terrorism in Britain, liaising with Britain's top spy agencies MI5 and MI6 as well as police forces across the country.
The Labour MP described the proposed budget cuts as deeply concerning, telling the Sunday Times newspaper that the top interior minister, Home Secretary Amber Rudd needed to urgently think again, warning that it would put ""further strain on already overstretched police budgets.""
To add to growing problems for British Prime Minister Theresa May's government, senior police officers and opposition politicians are up in arms over how a pay rise for police officers in Britain will be funded.
The government has signalled the beginning of the end of its austerity measures that resulted in employees in the public sector having their pay levels capped for seven years.
As a first step, cops are to be given a 2-percent pay rise, but there will be no extra money to pay for this from the central government. Instead, police forces from around the country will have to source the pay rises from their own budgets.
Currently, detectives are quizzing two suspects arrested following Friday's Parsons Green Tube attack in London.
But the Police Federation has raised concerns about a shortage of detectives, describing it as a national crisis for investigative policing.
Karen Stephens, the federation's national lead for detectives, says this specialist area of policing is in crisis.
A survey among CID (criminal investigation department) cops is currently underway by the federation.
Stephens said: ""With crime on the increase, the number of detective officers is not. The whole service is at breaking point.""
""Everyone is prepared to share the load, but the result is a diluted service with officers who are tired, stressed, and frustrated with the knock-on effect this is having on the public,"" she added.
The results of the federation's survey are due next month.
Robert Quick, who led Britain's counter-terrorism policing unit at Scotland Yard until 2009, has warned that government cuts to police funding have damaged attempts to prevent terror attacks.
Quick told the Guardian newspaper that intelligence from communities about people supporting violent extremism had been lost.
The former assistant police commissioner in charge of the counter-terrorism command, said: ""Counter-terrorism funding is ring-fenced, but cuts to the general policing budget has impacted on neighborhood policing teams in many parts of the country including London.""
Labour has said the Conservative Party decision to cut police numbers since 2010 had left Britain vulnerable.
Security was put in the spotlight in the House of Lords recently with members of Britain's upper house expressing their concerns about security in the wake of the recent terror attacks.
The former head of MI5, spoke about the scale of the problem now facing security agencies.
Baroness Manningham-Buller said: ""When we are told that MI5 has 500 active investigations involving 3,000 subjects of interest, as well as a vast pool of some 20,000 others whom it cannot focus on and whom it would like to go back to look at if time and resources allowed, it is pretty serious.""
""This is a long-term problem and requires our continued resolve,"" she said.
Former Labour defense minister Lord Bach, who is currently a police and crime commissioner, has spoken in the House of Lords about the impact on police budgets.
He said: ""Security has to be a total system, starting in neighborhoods and reaching to the security services. Information that can save people's lives can and does come from a proper system of neighborhood policing. That is why the funding debate cannot be about simply giving more money to counter-terrorism, important and timely though that is, given the cuts that have already taken place in counter-terrorism over a number of years.""
Bach added that the effect of the cuts can be seen even more clearly and sharply at a time of crisis in national security.
""Good security fundamentally depends on policing being properly funded. Of course, the lack of police numbers makes it even more difficult for forces to take the action needed following an incident. There has been just too much pressure in the last few months. The underlying truth, which cannot be escaped, is that there are now just too few cops. In the words of a senior officer, 'The security crisis is amplified by the lack of resource.'""
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