May sells the police a tough message

May: Democratic deficit
May: Democratic deficit

By Ian Dunt

Theresa May has not pulled her punches over police cuts while giving a keynote speech to superintendents in Chester.

Speaking at the Police Superintendents Association of England and Wales conference, the home secretary refused to deliver her audience the message they wanted to hear.

Ms May said it was "ridiculous" to suggest savings could not be made in the police service.

"You must make them happen," she told the hall, to stony silence.

"We are spending beyond our means and we cannot go on like this.

"In this economic environment I am clear the police service can make savings by finding new and more cost effect way of doing business."

Ms May insisted she would give police "the space to do your job" and cut red tape - both long-term police demands.

But she went on to argue for the creation of an elected police commissioner - an idea opposed by most senior policemen.

"Everyone recognises there is a democratic deficit at the heart of our policing model," she said.

"If something is broken and everything knows it, someone should fix it."

The speech came just moments after president Dereck Barnett took to the podium to ask that the home secretary take the associations advice before making decisions.


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