Theresa May rejects claims police cuts have contributed to a series of stabbings

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Theresa May has promised a cross-Government response to knife crime as she rejected claims police cuts had contributed to a series of brutal stabbings around the country.

The Prime Minister vowed to tackle the causes of knife crime by addressing the issues which led "so many young people" to carry blades.

But Mrs May was accused by political opponents of presiding over reductions in police numbers and cuts to youth services which have contributed to a rise in violent crime.

The Prime Minister, a former home secretary, insisted there was "no direct correlation between certain crimes and police numbers".

Jodie Chesney, who was stabbed to death in Harold Hill, east London on Friday night Credit: Met Police
Flowers near to the scene in St Neot's Road in Harold Hill Credit: PA

But Scotland Yard Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty indicated that extra officers did make a difference in tackling the problem.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid will chair a meeting of police chiefs on Wednesday, including chief constables from the areas most affected by knife crime.

It comes after the fatal stabbing of 17-year-old Jodie Chesney in an east London park on Friday night in what her family branded a "totally random and unprovoked attack".