How we use Cookies

Birmingham police may not be able to deal with Paris-style terror attack warns Shadow Home Secretary

Labour's Andy Burnham says police experts have doubts over ability to respond to major incident outside London following six years of austerity cuts

Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham speaking at Witton Lodge Community Association in Perry Common

Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham has warned that police cuts could leave Birmingham and the West Midlands unable to deal with a Paris-style terror attack.

The warning came as the Labour MP visited the Witton Lodge Community Association in Perry Common with leader Jeremy Corbyn to launch the party’s police and crime commissioner election campaign.

He said that, after six years of cuts and with a further four years to go, there was growing anxiety among police forces about the level of service they could provide to communities .

This year West Midlands Police has seen £126 million cut from its budget since 2010, with more to come this year despite a council tax rise.

Mr Burnham said: "Austerity has torn a hole in the safety net that should be under every community and can't go on. People are saying enough is enough."

He said that the ratio of police per head of population was one of the lowest in Europe.

"The question is, this is what police experts say, if God forbid there was a Paris-style attack outside London, in the Midlands or the North, is there the ability to surge enough police officers onto the streets to deal with that?

"Increasingly, people are saying to us they don't think there are enough officers. Not just community officers, but firearms units, specially trained officers.

"The Government’s got a lot explaining to do to show it is not compromising security."

Comment: No more #BrumCuts: City has paid enough for austerity

Nick Wilkinson
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (centre) and West Midlands Police Commissioner David Jamieson (left)

During the visit, Mr Corbyn, asked about the Prime Minister's criticism of his suit the day before, joked that Mr Cameron was "jealous".

The Prime Minister had said the opposition leader should "put on a proper suit".

Mr Corbyn, who wore a red tie with a dark jacket, said: "He’s actually jealous of the jacket. You know what he’s really jealous of - that I can go shopping in the great shopping centre of the world, Holloway Road - N7.

"And he’s stuck with Bond Street."

Later on during their West Midlands tour in Willenhal, Mr Burnham added: "The Prime Minister had a go at his jacket, but I think it’s very nice - don’t you?"

Poll loading …



Graeme Brown
Editor (Agenda and Business)
Enda Mullen
Business Reporter
Tamlyn Jones
Business Reporter
Neil Elkes
Local Government Correspondent
Emma McKinney
Education Correspondent
Ben Hurst
News Editor
Jonathan Walker
Political Editor