Theresa May stood up in front of the Police Federation this afternoon and tore them a new one:
“This weekend the federation warned that spending reductions mean that we will be forced to adopt a paramilitary style of policing in Britain. Today you said that neighbourhood police officers are an endangered species.
I have to tell you that this kind of scaremongering does nobody any good. It doesn’t serve you, it doesn’t serve the officers you represent and it does not serve the public.
In 2002 you said David Blunkett had done more harm to the police in five minutes than others have taken years to do. In 2004 you said Labour were going to destroy policing in this country for ever. And in 2007 you said the government had betrayed the police.
Now, I disagree with Labour policies, but even I don’t think those things are true.
You said police officers were demoralised in 2002, 2004 and 2007 and 2012. You warned of police officers’ anger in 2002, 2005 and 2008. And you warned that the police and the public were being put in danger in 2001, 2004 and 2007.
The truth is that crime fell in each of those years. It has fallen further since, and our country is safer than it has ever been.
So, please, for your sake, and for the thousands of police officers who work so hard every day, this crying wolf has to stop.”
To polite applause…