Speaking during a visit to Salisbury to mark a year since the ever-mystifying nerve agent attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, May claimed there was "no direct correlation between certain crimes and police numbers", despite cuts since 2010 meaning 21,000 fewer officers and 7,000 Police Community Support Officers on the streets.
In an official statement, Apter lashed back, calling May "delusional".
"Our Prime Minister is…steadfastly refusing to acknowledge what is plain for everyone else to see, and in the face of a national crisis that is deeply concerning. 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. What makes this all the more sickening is that it was predicted. This is the true cost of austerity we warned of but were ridiculed for doing so. May herself accused the Police Federation of ‘crying wolf' when we highlighted our concerns. Those concerns have become a reality but still the Prime Minister fails to accept the harsh truth," he raged.
The war of words comes in the wake of the murders of Yousef Ghaleb Makki and Jodie Chesney, both 17. Chesney, a girl scout, was murdered in cold blood in Romford 1 March by an unknown attacker who marched up and knifed her in the back. The very next evening, Makki, a pupil at Manchester Grammar School, was stabbed in a wealthy Greater Manchester village. Two 17-year-old boys have been arrested on suspicion of his murder.