Tories repeat how they keep us safe when terrorist attack happens, but cuts to the police and army are crippling Britain’s effective deterrent and response to such attacks.
Theresa May yesterday announced that 5,000 soldiers are to be placed on Britain’s streets in response to the recent Manchester Arena bomb attack and the raising of the current terror threat to “critical”, the highest possible level meaning that a terror attack is expected imminently
The armed forces will be put in place at locations and events that could be targeted by further terror attacks in the future, such as sports stadiums and transport links.
Many people think that Britain’s current state of maximum terror alert warrants the presence and need for the armed forces and security services but it is clear that the Tories have stood by as the armed forces, police, border force and emergency services have been subject to ideologically driven cuts that have lessened their effectiveness in dealing both as a deterrent to terror but also in responding.
The cuts to the police force mean that there are currently fewer police per head of population than since 1974. In addition, while Theresa May threatened Brussels in January to give the UK full border control or it will quit the single market, between 2010 and 2012 10% of UK Border Force jobs have been cut and as a result a 2015 report found that 16.5 million people are going through UK airports without proper checks.
There’s more; the Conservative manifesto of 2015 clearly stated that “We will maintain the size of the regular armed services and not reduce the army to below 82,000”. Despite this, the cuts have meant that the army is now at 79,000. In addition the fire service budget has been cut by 30% and between 2010 and 2016 slashed 10,000 fire-fighters jobs with serious detriment to the average response time to a reported incident
The Government may make out that they’re the ones keeping us safe but cuts to the military and police force have left Britain less capable to deal with the increased and more dangerous nature of terror attacks seen in the last two years in Europe and around the world.