Police have been promised an extra £100m by the government to help them tackle a knife crime “epidemic” in England and Wales.
The money will mainly go to the seven forces where violence is highest.
But the fund – announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond in his Spring Statement – falls short of the £200m to £300m requested by police chiefs last week.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the extra money was “a drop in the ocean” after years of decreasing police budgets.
“Cuts have consequences and the government needs to urgently give our police the funding they desperately need,” he said.
Funding to police forces – which comes from central government and council tax – fell by 19% in real terms between 2010-11 and 2018-19, according to the National Audit Office.
Officer numbers have fallen by around 20,000 since 2010.
Mr Hammond initially said police forces must use their existing budgets to tackle knife crime, following requests from senior officers.
The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) welcomed the new money, saying it would boost the number of officers patrolling crime hotspots, increase the use of stop and search, and help to disrupt criminal gangs.
The funding would also be used to fund Violence Reduction Units that seek to tackle the underlying causes of violent crime.
The chancellor’s announcement follows a spate of fatal teenage stabbings, with two 17-year-olds killed in separate knife attacks in London and Greater Manchester earlier this month.
Jodie Chesney was killed in an east London park as she played music with friends, and Yousef Ghaleb Makki was stabbed to death in the village of Hale Barns, near Altrincham.
Mr Hammond told the Commons a “wider, cross-agency response to this epidemic” was required.
“Action is needed now. So the prime minister and I have decided exceptionally, to make available immediately to police forces in England an additional £100m,” he said.
The money is for one year, with a longer-term funding settlement for the police expected to form part of the Spending Review.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid tweeted: “It’s vital police have the resources they need to crack down on the rising levels of knife crime.
“I’ve listened and we will be giving £100m extra to forces, targeting the hardest hit areas. I’ll continue to give police the support they need.”
Source: (BBC News)