Evening Express

Abbott unable to say how much Labour police increases will cost

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott has reaffirmed Labour’s election pledge to recruit 10,000 additional police officers, but was unable to say how much it would cost.

Ms Abbott said the increase in numbers would be paid for by reversing Conservative cuts to capital gains tax.

However, she said the final cost to the Exchequer would depend on how quickly they were able to recruit the additional officers.

Ms Abbott came under fire during the 2017 general election campaign after she gave a stumbling interview in which she was unable to explain how Labour’s plan was costed.

Diane Abbott says Labour will recruit 10,000 extra officers (Joe Giddens/PA)

She later disclosed that she suffered from type 2 diabetes which had forced her to take a break from the campaign trail.

Speaking on Tuesday on BBC Radio 4’s The World at One, Ms Abbott said Labour remained committed to the increase in police numbers and that reversing the cuts to capital gains tax would raises “billions” to pay for it.

“We would recruit 10,000 extra police officers to start to tackle rising serious crime. We would fund this by cutting the cuts in capital gains tax for the rich,” she said.

“Reversing the Tory cuts will amount to billions. We are confident that will more than cover the money needed for the 10,000 police officers.

“I can’t tell you exactly how much they will cost because it depends how quickly we are able to recruit them.”

Following a highly critical report by the National Audit Office warning that the policing system in England and Wales was under “stress”, Ms Abbott said the service was paying the price for the mishandling of policing by successive Conservative home secretaries.

She said the Government was wrong to lay the blame on police and crime commissioners for the problems they now faced.

“I think successive Tory home secretaries have mishandled policing and crime,” she said.

“The real issue has been poor political decisions. Cuts have consequences. These cuts which Theresa May, Amber Rudd and now Sajid Javid have presided over.”

She added: “One of the things we would do as a matter of urgency is is work with our colleagues in local authorities to look at these issues and try and find a holistic solution – a public health approach for example to youth and gang crime.”