#LondonBridge and Tory cuts to The Metropolitan Police

Let me just say that I am very upset and angry about the latest terrorist attack in #LondonBridge. Only days before, and at roughly the same time, we were walking those very streets near Borough Market and London Bridge. It could have been my dear friends, my wife… Then I ponder on the goals of those thugs: what can they possibly achieve with such stupid, backward and senseless attack? Do any of these deranged imbeciles really think that driving into a crowd, or stabbing people is going to bring Western civilisation and its tenets to a halt? If anything their actions are only increasing the world’s resolve to eradicate them, and their nihilistic ideology from the face of the earth.

But today, the debate dominating the agenda is whether savage Tory cuts have diminished law enforcement capabilities:

I’m a serving firearms officer and the Government is wrong to claim police cuts have nothing to do with recent attacks

Despite her denials, Theresa May’s cuts to police numbers have made attacks like London and Manchester much more likely

From personal experience, I think I can provide an answer to whether the Conservatives’ insane approach to balancing the budget -at the expense of core services- has had any impact.

As readers of this blog may remember, in November 2014 thugs -either sent or hired by Venezuelans- broke into our flat, stole my laptops, and left ominous threats of sexual abuse against my children. The reaction and actions of The Metropolitan Police in this particular case have been amateurish, unprofessional, deeply unsatisfactory and utterly inefficient.

A few things became evident since my first interaction with Metropolitan Police officers that arrived in our building, after calling 999, the most shocking being, of course, to hear the inspector assigned to the case tell me «you brought this upon yourself» due to my exposing corruption and white collar criminals. A great line to reassure a victim no doubt. But that claim came after the opening qualifier: «I’m dealing with over 20 cases at the minute and yours being just a regular break in to steal gadgets is not a priority.»

Those words set what would follow. The Metropolitan Police officer in charge did not know how to take a screenshot of the CCTV video provided as evidence. The CCTV itself was only collected from our building a week after the incident. The mobile phone left in the flat didn’t produce a single lead. My questions about access to public CCTV in buses, train and Tube stations to determine movements of suspects were dismissed with «we can’t do that due to data protection.» One unpleasant interaction after another led me to raise a complaint, which was dealt with an investigations supervisor who was equally clueless, and uncooperative, excusing lack of progress on jurisdictional grounds. While I was reassured that images of suspects and information had been shared within the Metropolitan Police with anti terrorism unit, and with other investigative departments, the fact is the thugs that came to terrorize my family got away with it.

Time and again I heard apologetic arguments from the Metropolitan Police, about being understaffed, underpaid and stretched far beyond its capabilities. And who is responsible for that situation? David Cameron, George Osborne, Theresa May and the rest of the nasty people at the top of the Tory party, for whom balancing a budget is prioritized over people’s health, education and protection. And things have only gotten worse. As disgusting and unpalatable as Jeremy Corbyn is, he got one thing right when he said: «You can’t protect people on the cheap.»

Theresa May has been repeatedly warned about the consequences of police cuts. Does she care, or rather, what exactly has she done about it? Theresa May was very much part of Cameron / Osborne government. She can not, at this juncture, skirt her personal responsibility in the mess created by her and her predecessors. Instead of «accusing» Corbyn of «trying to sneak into Number 10» -which is precisely what she did- she must apply to herself some of the arguments she repeats like an automaton.

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