By Marcus Leach
Mayor of London Boris Johnson has urged the Government to re-think its plans to cut police numbers in the wake of the rioting that has ravaged the country over the past four days.
As police forces throughout the country fought to contain riots for a fourth consecutive night the Mayor called on ministers to 'take another look' at the proposals to cut force budgets.
Appearing on Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Johnson said the case for force cuts was frail, as well as saying that those in authority needed to have their ability to instill discipline in youngsters restored.
“If you ask me whether I think there is a case for cutting police budgets in the light of these events then my answer would be no,” he said.
“I think that case was always been pretty frail and its been substantially weakened.
“If you look at the position in London, obviously we’ve been able to make significant savings, we’ve been able to move money around and expand numbers.
“But if you look at what’s happening in Birmingham and Manchester and elsewhere; very troubling scenes.
“This is not a time to think about making substantial cuts in police numbers.”
Police forces throughout the UK are facing a series of pay reviews, dwindling budgets and job cuts. However, the riots have brought home the need for a well funded force able to instil law and order.
Mr Johnson went on to say that it was hardly surprising that the police found it difficult to deal with the initial outbreak of violence given the “heavy restrictions that surround their conduct”.
“Let’s face it, what’s happened in our city and in our country in the last three or four days has been a massive own goal," he said.
“Here in London you had people behaving with a complete lack of restraint and a complete lack of respect for the police. It was chilling.
“The lesson is that over 20, 30 years we’ve got into a situation where we have allowed people an endless sense of entitlement. Give adults and give teachers back the right to impose authority.
“I would like the benefit of the doubt to be in favour of adults and those who are in positions of authority.
“We need to give the police the courage of their convictions and get on and do what they signed up to do.”
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