Britain’s most senior police officer believes middle class recreational drug users have “blood on their hands” over the recent spate of violent deaths.
Speaking on LBC, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick told host Nick Ferrari the description was “a good way of putting it”.
Asked if she agreed with the statement, Ms Dick said: “I think anybody who is not seriously mentally ill, seriously addicted, who is seeking ‘recreational’ drugs, particularly class A drugs, yes, I think that is a good way to put it, I do.”
The drugs trade is one of the key drivers behind street violence, particularly county lines networks that target children and teenagers to work as couriers.
Ms Dick also disagreed with the Prime Minister’s claim that police cuts were not to blame for a spate of fatal stabbings on teenagers.
She said: “If you went back in history, you would see examples of when police officer numbers have gone down and crime has not necessarily risen at the same rate and in the same way.
“But I think that what we all agree on is that in the last few years police officer numbers have gone down a lot, there’s been a lot of other cuts in public services, there has been more demand for policing and therefore there must be something and I have consistently said that.
“I agree that there is some link between violent crime on the streets obviously and police numbers, of course there is and everybody would see that.”
Theresa May provoked fury on Monday when she said there “was no direct correlation between certain crimes and police numbers”.
Former Met Commissioner Lord Hogan-Howe called for 20,000 officers to be recruited to bring forces in England and Wales back to their 2010 strength, as he demanded that ministers “get a grip on the crisis”.
The body that represents rank-and-file officers said the Prime Minister was “delusional”.
John Apter, national chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “Policing has been stripped to the bone and the consequences are clear, splashed across newspaper front pages and TV news bulletins – children being murdered on our streets.
“This is the true cost of austerity that we warned of, but were ridiculed for doing so.”
Appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, he also criticised proposals to reduce the number of people going to prison for short sentences.
“We have a Justice Secretary who is saying we need to scrap shorter sentences because the prisons are full. My argument is build more prisons. We need to have a consequence,” he said.
Several MPs, including a former Home Office minister, have called for the Government to convene a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee to respond to the “national crisis”.
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”.
On Saturday night, 17-year-old Yousef Ghaleb Makki was stabbed to death in Hale Barns, near Altrincham, in Greater Manchester.