The Prime Minister insisted more cash is being put into policing with an extra £460 million available now and nearly £1 billion over the next year. And she hit out at Jeremy Corbyn for trying to block crucial extra powers and funding for police as they battle to stop the spiralling numbers of fatal teen stabbings. Mrs May told MPs the responsibility for the wave of brutal murders lies with the attackers.
But the Prime Minister has faced criticism over cuts to policing amid the shocking levels of bloodshed.
Jodie Chesney and Yousef Makki became the latest teenagers to be killed after attacks in London and Greater Manchester at the weekend.
Mrs May said: “A growing number of young people have lost their lives in a cycle of mindless violence that has shocked us all.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and families of all the victims.
“The responsibility for these crimes lies with the perpetrators of them, but we must all do more to ensure that justice is served and to tackle the root causes of this violence so that we can bring it to an end and ensure the safety of our young people.”
The Prime Minister is holding talks in Number 10 in the coming days with police chiefs, ministers and victims.
She criticised Labour for opposing extra money for the police after the party last month voted against a grant settlement that provides up to an extra £970 million in the new financial year.
Mr Corbyn also opposed changing the law so anyone caught carrying a knife for a second time would face a custodial sentence before he became leader – one of just three Labour MPs to do so.
Mrs May said the government was increasing the powers police need as well as their funding.
She added: “If Mr Corbyn wants the police to be able to do their job on the streets, he needs to tell this House why he voted against the measures we introduced to increase the powers of the police to deal with those carrying knives and to apply custodial sentences in the cases of those who are caught twice carrying knives.”
During Prime Minister’s questions, the Labour leader said 285 people were stabbed to death last year, the “highest level ever”.
Mr Corbyn said: “Cuts to the police, rising poverty, the police and Home Office recognise the link even if the Prime Minister doesn’t.
“You cannot keep communities safe on the cheap by cuts and privatisation, you have to invest in all of our communities in every part of this country – something this Government is incapable of doing.”
The Prime Minister said if the Labour leader was concerned about austerity “you’d think he’d want to make sure it never ever happens again” as she criticised the party’s economic record.
She added: “He’d take us right back to austerity square one.”