Jon Boutcher says extra police will not help unless impact of Tory austerity is addressed

Austerity-driven cuts that have left disadvantaged children vulnerable to gangs must be reversed to repair Britain’s “social fabric” and reduce crime, a police chief has said.

In a damning indictment of the effects of years of austerity on crime, Jon Boutcher, the chief constable of Bedfordshire, called for police to be freed up to focus on hardcore criminals and not victims of social “circumstance”.

Related: Will PM's police hiring spree make streets safer?

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