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The hon. Gentleman’s point relates to something that may be considered by the Backbench Business Committee as part of the petitions process following the petition on Finn’s law. I am keen to meet the organiser of that for a conversation. Any kind of assault on police officers or on the animals and people who work with them is completely unacceptable. He mentioned spitting and there has been coverage recently of the view that the Mayor of London has taken on that. I think that any such behaviour is completely unacceptable.
I have talked quite a lot in recent speeches about the value we should place on policing as a profession. It should attract not just the bold and the brave but the brightest and the best. The new recruits taking their first steps in policing following the tremendous recent recruitment drive made possible by this Government are doing so at an exciting time.
I am afraid Ms Abbott got her figures a little confused in a few areas. I suggest that she look at the difference between recorded crime and actual crime, and crime and assaults against police officers rather than overall crime—and indeed the figures on police funding, which I will come to directly in a minute, where I am afraid her facts were a little off.
The crime survey of England and Wales shows that crime is down by more than a quarter. It is at its lowest level since that independent survey began some 35 years ago. But we recognise that crime is changing. Although this Government have always been clear that we do not seek to run policing, nor to decide from the centre how many officers are needed in Hackney or in Halifax, we want to make sure we are playing our part in helping the police to do their job. Where it is right for Government to act, we will, and have done so.