Labour's promise that neighbourhood police officers spend at least 80% of their time on the beat is being dropped with immediate effect, the home secretary, Theresa May, said today. The former government's 10-point pledge was the first attempt to lay down a national minimum standard for policing. The decision to scrap it comes as senior officers warn that the current record number of police is not sustainable in the face of budget cuts. The home secretary told senior officers at the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) annual conference in Manchester today that the police could not be exempted from deep spending cuts. "The spending review has not begun yet, so we don't know the exact figures, but I must be clear," she warned. "We are not talking about a spending freeze or a reduction of 1% or 2%.