It is not rubbish. [Hon. Members: “Yes, it is.”] The state of the public finances is a matter of absolute record.
I welcome the right hon. Lady’s recognition that traditional crime continues to decrease. Of course we are all concerned about the clear increase in serious violent crime, andwe have faced up to it in clear statements of our determination to get on top of it, not just with words but with actions through the Serious Violence Strategy, which has been welcomed by the police and which is supported by funding.
The right hon. Lady said that forces were struggling to manage demand. It is absolutely true that some of them are, but we do not need the National Audit Office to tell us that; the HMIC reports on effectiveness make the point very plainly. We are working with those forces. We should reject any groupthink that suggests that this is just an issue of financial resources, although they are clearly important. Police leaders recognise that there is considerable scope for improvement in the way in which police time and demand are managed. HMIC has made that point very clearly, and has taken an initiative that we support in requiring force management statements in which police forces must explain their view of future demand and how they intend to manage it.
The right hon. Lady asked what the Government were going to do. I will tell her exactly what we are doing, and exactly what the Home Secretary said yesterday to the police superintendents. We will continue to support the police, and we have put more money into the police system. The Home Secretary has made it very clear that police funding is a priority for him, and we are working closely with the police in preparing for the comprehensive spending review. There needs to be a strong evidence base in respect of demand and resilience, and it is exactly that work that we are putting together. The Government attach the highest priority to public safety, and to ensuring that our police system has the support that it needs.