Jeremy Corbyn claimed Theresa May is trying to keep communities “safe on the cheap” as he warned of surging violent crime.
The Labour leader challenged Theresa May to explain if she had any regrets over cutting police officer numbers and criticised the impact of “systematically” stripping away public services to support young people.
He added that austerity has driven the rise in violent crime as PMQs occurred amid concerns over knife attacks.
May began by saying any deaths through violence are an “appalling tragedy” and a “growing number” of young people are dying in a “growing cycle of violence that has shocked us all”.
She reiterated she will hold a summit in Number 10 in coming days and meet victims of the “appalling crimes” to explore what can be done.
But Corbyn accused her of not doing enough to tackle the “root cause” of the rise in knife crime, and pointed to the recent deaths of 17-year-olds Jodie Chesney and Yousef Makki.
He said 285 people were stabbed to death last year, the “highest level ever”, before asking: “Does the prime minister now regret cuts in police numbers and will she undertake that under this review they will be restored to the level they were formerly at?”
May replied: “We are putting more resources into the police this year – it’s no good members on the opposition benches standing up and saying ‘no you’re not’, it’s a fact more money is being put into the police this year, that more money is being put into the police next year.
“The real question is not are we putting more money into the police, because we are – the real question is why did the Labour party oppose that money going into the police?”