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Anti-terror chief warns vital police work at risk

BRITAIN’S most senior counter-terror officer has warned that the heightened threat facing the country risks diverting police resources from other priorities.

Asst Comm Mark Rowley (pictured) also said his officers, who are working on four major inquiries after the attacks in Westminster, London Bridge, Manchester and Finsbury Park, are unable to operate at ‘full strength’.

In a letter to home secretary Amber Rudd, he said demand for detectives in areas such as child abuse prevents this, according to the BBC.

Prioritising counter-terrorism work would involve ‘difficult choices’ about resources, he said. ‘It will inevitably push risk to other areas of policing, potentially with significant impact.’

The letter, sent before the Finsbury Park attack, included a plea to avoid ‘uncertainty over funding’. Officers have dismantled five plots since the Westminster attack in March.

MI5 and police are running 500 inquiries involving 3,000 individuals, with 20,000 former ‘subjects of interest’ kept under review.

The Home Office said overall police budgets had been protected in real terms, and funding provided for an additional 1,900 officers at security and intelligence agencies.

PORTERS, cleaners and security staff at four hospitals are to stage a series of strikes in a dispute over pay. Members of the Unite union employed by private contractor Serco will walk out for three days from July 4, seven days from July 11 and 14 days from July 25. They work at London hospitals run by Barts Health NHS Trust.