CHARITIES in Scotland have described Boris Johnson’s remark police were “spaffing money up the wall” on childhood abuse investigations as “an appalling insult”.

The former Foreign Secretary – a favourite to replace Theresa May as prime minister – was asked if there was a connection between police cuts and rising knife crime in England.

Using graphic terminology about a sexual act, he said: “An awful lot of money, an awful lot of police time, now goes into these historic offences and all this malarkey and, you know, £60 million I saw has been spaffed up the wall on some investigation into historic child abuse.

“What on earth is that going to do to protect the public now?

“What the people want is to see officers out on the streets doing what they signed up to do.”

Inquiries into historical sexual abuse continue in Scotland and England. They were ordered after serious claims came to light following the Jimmy Savile revelations.

Children 1st head Mary Glasgow said: “It is shocking to hear such outrageous and irresponsible comments about historic child abuse from a senior politician.

“Jimmy Savile and other high profile abuse cases have shown how society’s willingness to turn a blind eye to abuse devastated the lives of child after child.

“Historic child abuse investigations can stop abuse happening to children – the smallest, most vulnerable members of the public – today. They show both child and adult survivors that if you speak out you will be heard, abusers will be stopped and you can begin to recover and move on with your life.

“For the survivors of child sexual abuse we work with, supporting them to recover from their childhood experiences of trauma, language like ‘spaffing money up the wall’ is an appalling insult given their often horrific experiences.”

Peter Saunders, founder of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, said: “These comments by Johnson epitomise the cultural and practical challenges we all have had in protecting our children. To reduce the rape and assault on children to ‘malarkey’ sums up our, or should I say, our children’s problem? The man is a buffoon at the best of times. Comments such as this from a senior politician, a former foreign secretary, make him a dangerous buffoon.”

Johnson’s comments came as William Quigg, 77, from Bridge of Weir, was jailed for 10 years for sexual offences against children in the 1980s. Victim Ian Johnstone told BBC Scotland: “Justice works no matter how long ago the offences took place.”