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Almost 80 per cent of people believe police force spending cuts have made them less safe on the streets of Britain, an exclusive survey has shown.

Some four-fifths of those questioned in the exclusive survey for The Independent said swingeing cuts enforced during a near-decade of austerity driven by the Conservatives have damaged public safety.

In a worrying omen for Theresa May, an even larger proportion of Tory voters were of the view that spending reductions have had a negative impact – potentially undermining the Conservatives’ traditional claim to be the party of law and order.

The data from BMG Research, released amid a spiralling knife crime epidemic, throws down the gauntlet to home secretary Sajid Javid who has said he is seeking more funding for police from the Treasury.

More than 100 people have been killed in London alone in violent crimes this year, with five stabbings recently taking place in six days.

A weighted sample of some 1,500 people was questioned about a government spending watchdog report which found police funding had reduced 19 per cent since 2010, and whether they thought it had a negative impact on public safety.

A total of 78 per cent said that it did have a negative impact, while just seven per cent said it did not and 15 per cent said they did not know.

In their 2017 manifesto the Conservatives sought to live up to their traditional claim to be the party of law and order by promising to “help Britain’s world-leading police forces and prosecutorial services to fight crime”.

But among those who said they intended to vote Conservative at the next election, a huge 83 per cent said they believed cuts had a negative impact.

The report from the National Audit Office published earlier this year found there had been a 19 per cent drop in funding for police since the Conservatives took power in 2010 and that an “effective” service was at risk. Read more

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