GENERAL ELECTION: Worcester MP rubbishes Diane Abbott’s pledge over 10,000 police officers

CONFUSED: Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott.

MORE than 50 new police officers could be patrolling the streets of Worcestershire under a Labour General Election pledge – including 10 in Worcester.

But the manifesto idea was plunged into chaos today after a shadow cabinet minister appeared confused about the cost, leading to fierce criticism from the city’s MP.

Labour says it wants to fund 10,000 new police officers spread across 43 police forces nationwide, including West Mercia.

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott today said it would be funded by reversing cuts to capital gains tax, telling LBC Radio it would cost "about £300,000" in total.

But that works out at just £30 per officer, leading to the politician being widely ridiculed on social media today.

Worcester MP Robin Walker said: "First of all she said it would cost £300,000, that’s £30 per officer, then she suggested it would cost just £8,000 per police officer.

"It’s just extraordinary, they obviously don’t know how much this is going to cost and haven’t thought it through properly.

"It was a car crash of an interview – we’ve already got a police and crime commissioner here who has increased the budget for frontline policing."

Ms Abbott said "if we recruit the 10,000 policemen and women over a four-year period" it would cost "about £300,000".

Radio presenter Nick Ferrari then said that would mean a £30 yearly salary, telling her: "£300,000 for 10,000 police officers? What are you paying them?"

She replied by stating she meant to say "£80 million", but was unable to explain how that figure made sense, working out at just £8,000 per officer.

She also said the capital gains tax move would free up £2 billion, and after further questioning said told the presenter it would be "amply covered" by that.

Prior to the interview West Midlands Labour Party issued a press release about the spending, but it did not say how much the 10,000 officers would cost.

It cited "worrying rises" in crime, pledging to provide "new money that can be used to put a bobby on the beat in every electoral ward" in Worcestershire.

There are 57 county council electoral wards in Worcestershire including 10 in Worcester, eight in Malvern and 12 in Wychavon.

The policing row comes at a time when there is concern over crime rising, including race hate incidents and robberies.

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