Tory peer Lord Lawson says police should stop funding historical sex abuse investigations to save money

Lord Lawson says the police are complaining too much about a lack of funds

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Police forces around the UK should save money by cutting back on investigations of historic child sex abuse, a Conservative peer has said.

Lord Lawson, who was Margaret Thatcher’s chancellor in the 1980s, said the police should not complain about a lack of resources for security work while the probes were being conducted. 

“Security is essential. It's vital. But I think the police are complaining a little bit too much,” he told BBC One’s Andrew Mar Show on Sunday.

“Look at how much the police is spending now on chasing up often unsubstantiated accusations of historic sex abuse. 

“That's got nothing to do with security. Those resources should be put where the need is."

The Daily Express newspaper reports that the costs of such investigations around £3.4m, a relatively small portion of the £8.2bn 2015-16 central government police budget.

The Government is making cuts of £300m to this amount in a year, according to figures from late 2014.

A leaked letter from police chiefs to the Home Secretary Theresa May shows that officers believe such cuts will undermine the police's ability to deal with a Paris-style terror attack.

The lobbying for more spending on police comes ahead of the Chancellor's spending review.

Key investigations into historic child sex abuse include Operation Hydrant, which is looking at 1,433 suspects said to be of public prominence.

Operation Fairbank, led by the Metropolitan Police, was begun in 2012 as a “scoping exercise” to establish evidence for further former investigations.

Operation Athabasca is looking into allegations surrounding the Elm Guest House in Barnes and Operation Midland is examining allegations around an apartment building in Dolphin Square.

Separate inquiries are also being led by Greater Manchester Police and the States of Jersey Police.