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THE SUN - Almost 1,000 soldiers were deployed on Britain’s streets despite 1,337 trained firearms officers' jobs axed since 2010 MINISTERS have been forced to defend big cuts to armed police after calling out the Army to help tackle the Manchester terror crisis.
A total of 984 soldiers were deployed on Britain’s streets yesterday to help free up gun cops. But it has emerged that a total of 1,337 trained firearms officers have been slashed in England and Wales between 2010 and last year.
Critics last night insisted there would have been no need to enact emergency military support – dubbed Operation Temperer – if they had been kept on.
Official Home Office figures seen by The Sun reveal the total number of authorised firearms officers dropped from 6,976 in 2010 to 5,639 in 2016. Overall police numbers have also fallen by 19,264 since the Tories came to power seven years ago – from 146,030 to 126,766.
A row exploded between Labour’s Manchester mayor and the Home Secretary over police forcres’ funding yesterday.
Highlighting shortfalls, Andy Burnham said there is “a broader question about police resourcing going forward”. But Amber Rudd insisted: “They have all the tools they need”.
The home affairs boss also promised to conduct “a look to see if there are any lessons to be learned” once the crisis has passed.
Ms Rudd also pledged a major boost in funding for the Prevent campaign to step up efforts to end young jihadis’ radicalisation. She added: “I have proposed an uplift in Prevent. I hope we’ll be going ahead with that in June”.
In what was seen as an admission that the cuts have gone too far, earlier this year Home Office ministers also pledged a major £144m funding uplift for gun cops.
The package would pay for an extra 1,500 armed officers over five years. Police Federation chair Steve White called on the Government to “learn the lessons” from the Manchester attack, and dubbed the decision to call out the military as “deeply worrying”.
The Army is also currently 4,000 troops short of its required strength of 82,000, pledged by the Tories in their 2015 general election manifesto.