Tony often formally responds to matters of public interest like public consultations and inspection reports. This is an archive of older responses. See also, more recent responses.
Equality and Human Rights Commission – follow-up to Hidden in Plain Sight report, October 2013
In September 2011, the Equality and Human Rights Commission published the findings of its inquiry into disability-related harassment- Hidden in Plain Sight, which found that for many disabled people, harassment – including verbal and physical abuse, theft and fraud, sexual harassment and bullying – is a commonplace experience, and that all agencies can improve their performance in preventing and dealing with disability-related harassment.
Following the report the Commission is reviewing what progress organisations have made in dealing with this issue.
Inspection report – Policing in Austerity: Rising to the Challenge, July 2013
In July 2013, HMIC published a report – Police in Austerity: Rising to the Challenge – into how police forces are dealing with the budget cuts.
The cuts to the policing budget in Greater Manchester have been enormous – £145.5m needs to be slashed from the budget by 2015, which means there will be 1,525 fewer police officers on our streets. Tony is pleased that the report recognises that these cuts have also disproportionally affected Greater Manchester, and that GMP, despite its both complex and demanding problems, has responded well to both these challenges and the difficulties of implementing such significant cuts.
GMP has worked innovatively with other agencies in the region to deliver a programme of reform to local public services that is starting to have an impact. This shows that by working together we really can deliver benefits to everyone in Greater Manchester.
HMIC and HMCPSI joint review – prosecution case files, April 2013
In April 2013, Greater Manchester Police was one of six police forces visited by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate as part of a joint review into the quality of prosecution case files. In their report, published in July 2013, found that police officers lacked understanding of the importance of the information they were providing to prosecutors and it was often seen as a tick box exercise, with files including irrelevant or incomplete information.
Tony welcomes the publication of the review – Getting Cases Ready for Court – and recognises the importance of effective training for police officers, to make sure files are put together consistently and expediently. He has raised the issues highlighted in the review with GMP and is confident that they are being addressed and Tony will continue to monitor case file preparation within the force to challenge and improve how case files are completed.
Inspection report – stop and search, July 2013
Following the summer riots of 2011, which focused attention on the way police use stop and search powers, the Home Secretary commissioned Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary to carry out an inspection of the use of these powers across all police forces in England and Wales. The subsequent report, published in July 2013, found that the majority of police forces don’t understand how to use the powers effectively and fairly to prevent and detect crime, threatening the legitimacy of the police.
In his response, Tony welcomes the report and recognises this is an issue that affects some communities more than others and is something he feels very strongly about.
Some of the issues raised in the report have already been addressed within GMP following changes to the way stop and search encounters are recorded in Greater Manchester. However, there are areas of concern which Tony intends to pick up with Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy including local engagement activity, the impact on community confidence and performance monitoring.
In terms of the community engagement and confidence building, the key here is around building trust and confidence within the community to demonstrate that stop and search is a useful tool in fighting crime. After speaking to young people in Greater Manchester about their experience of stop and search, few have been positive and it’s critical we address this if we are to get stop and search for our communities.
Consultation response – Legal Aid reforms, June 2013
In April 2013, the Ministry of Justice announced proposals to reform the legal aid system in England and Wales in a drive to save £220m a year. This included plans for price competitive tendering for legal aid contracts and taking away the right for victims of crime to choose their own legal representation.
In his response to the Government’s consultation, Tony expresses serious concerns over the possible impact of these proposals which represent a real threat something that goes to the very heart of British society, the right to a fair trial and will create a justice gap between those who can afford to pay for legal advice and those who cannot.
Inspection report – disability hate crime, March 2013
In March 2013, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation carried out a joint inspection to see how police, probation and the CPS deal with crimes against disabled people. The subsequent report, “Living in a different world: joint review of disability hate crime” found that victims are being let down by the criminal justice system, and progress to improve their experience of reporting offences has been too slow. Although acknowledging some progress has been made, inspectors recommend all agencies must do more to ensure that disability hate crime is treated on an equal footing with other hate crimes, and that victims have the confidence to report crimes.
In his response, Tony welcomes the report and says that he believes the way in which agencies deal with crimes against disabled people is clearly lagging behind other types of hate crime responses. He highlights some of the good work being carried out, but adds there is a frustrating lack of evaluation. He adds that he believes that the key to improving things is through effective engagement with disabled people and groups to understand what the barriers are. He points out that he has already visited a number of projects working with people with disabilities, adding it is encouraging to see the support these organisations give.
Inpsection report – Jimmy Savile investigation, March 2013
In March 2013, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary carried out a review into the allegations and intelligence material concerning disgraced former children’s entertainer Jimmy Savile. The report, entitled “Mistakes were made“, found that many victims felt unable to approach police during Savile’s lifetime and that, although systems were in place for the police forces involved to “join the dots”, this didn’t happen. The report had a series of recommendations.
Although Greater Manchester Police was not directly involved, and was not one of the three forces scrutinised in the report, the Inspectorate invited comments on its report. In his response, Tony says that the report highlights themes which cut across investigations into child abuse. As such he considers the recommendations to be a good starting point, but adds that all agencies have much further to go. He outlines some of the good work being done in Greater Manchester around this difficult area and stresses the importance of all agencies working together to put victims at the centre.
Consultation response – Transforming Rehabilitation, February 2013
The Ministry of Justice invited responses to its proposals to change the way in which offenders were dealt with in the community. This included plans to open up the majority of probation services to competition, managing the commissioning of these services centrally and introducing a system of “payment by results”. The consultation ran between 9 January and 22 February 2013.
In his response, Tony expressed serious concerns about the proposals and the lack of detail about what they would mean. He also stressed the excellent partnership working that exists in Greater Manchester and how the region was further advanced than elsewhere on delivering the kind of public sector reform that reduces dependency on public services. He called on Greater Manchester to be exempted from the contract area proposals.