90 days from today is Thu, 28 December 2023
22 October 2018
The impact of cuts on Greater Manchester Police have been likened to ‘Manchester United or Manchester City playing with eight men.’
Force Chief Constable Ian Hopkins told presenter Mike Sweeney on BBC Radio Manchester that the force had lost 2,000 officers since 2010 as part of £183m worth of cuts.
He was on the In The Hot Seat Show to respond to a freedom of information request which has revealed that 40% of reported crimes are not followed up by the force.
CC Hopkins listened to several callers to the programme who said they were seeing fewer officers on the streets, while others shared their experiences of crimes not being investigated.
“I totally understand where people are coming from as we are having to make really difficult decisions every day about the areas we prioritise because there is just not enough of us to deal with the volume of enquiries we have coming in,” he said.
“Because of these cuts and the drop in officer numbers we are less visible, and we are less proactive but the motivation of GMP officers to serve the Greater Manchester public is off the scale.
“That’s what our recent staff survey told us and academics from Durham University who ran it said they were astounded by that response.
“But the bottom line is that we are doing it with one hand tied behind our back, it’s like Manchester United or Manchester City going out on the pitch with only eight men and wondering why they lose.”
CC Hopkins highlighted a number of crimes, especially against vulnerable youngsters where arrests have been promptly made.
Assessing vulnerability is key with routine policing he said, set against the need to investigate the more serious crimes of rape, murder, violent assaults and organised crime.
With 335,488 crimes reported in Greater Manchester last year the force must ‘ruthlessly’ assess it against the threat, harm and risk to individuals.
He also defended officers from claims made by a local councillor that there were too many of them sitting behind desks and not out on the beat.
“Since 2010 we’ve had to make £183 m in cuts and we went through every department and moved people out onto the frontline,” he said.
“83% of our budget is spent on people, we’ve had to reduce officer numbers by 2,000, PCSOs by 175 and staff by 1,000 where else can we go?
“In England and Wales, the average amount of officers lost to forces is 14%, in GMP it’s 22% and that’s because 80% of the budget comes from direct Government grant, where all the cuts have come from, while the remainder is Council Tax precept,” he said.
“For other forces that ratio might be 49%/51%
“Look at our grading on serious and organised crime detection, we’re outstanding, and look at our detection rates on murders, the response to the Manchester Arena attack and our support of rape and serious assaults - we do exceptionally well – but we cannot do everything.”
He added that a new Citizens Contract aimed at reminding residents about their responsibilities around crime prevention and encouraging them to get involved with policing was in place.
New technology, such as mobile fingerprint scanners are being introduced to help officers out on the frontline while face recognition software is being trialled.
He said was ‘disheartened’ to hear claims that the force had ‘given up on crime’.
“Officers are being stabbed in the line of duty there are out there going to fatal incidents, we have absolutely not given up and that’s an affront to our officers,” he said.
“At the end of the day we’ll use our resources responsibly and we are asking the public to have some trust and understanding around our decision making.
“I would say (to residents) please report, but they need to understand that the level of service might not be what they want.”