After seven people were killed and dozens were injured in new terror attacks in London, Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Great Britain’s Labour Party, says Prime Minister Theresa May should resign because she presided over a sharp cutback in the nation’s police forces, The Guardian reports. In 2010, May, serving as home secretary, cut police budgets by 18 percent. Over the next five years the number of police officers in England and Wales fell from a peak of 144,353 in 2009 to 122,859 in 2016. At the same time the number of specialist armed police officers has fallen from a peak of 6,796 in 2010 to 5,639 in 2016.
Critics told May in 2010 that in cutting police funding, she was making a mistake that Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher never made in the 1980s when she realized that there would come a crucial moment when the country, and her premiership, would depend on the resilience of the thin blue line. May argued that with big continuing falls in crime that had been seen since the mid-1990s, it was not necessary to maintain such a large police force. Her approach seemed to hold true as the crime totals continued to fall and the police federation’s predictions of “Christmas for criminals” proved to be unfounded. At the same time the counter-terrorism budget was protected as chief constables faced the dilemma of cutting back on neighborhood policing teams to balance the books.