Date: 26 September 2013
Venue: Greater Manchester Police Headquarters, Central Park, Northampton Road (off Oldham Road), Manchester, M40 5BP
Tony was joined by Jim Battle, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Colin Lambert, Leader of Rochdale Council, Tony Morris from Granada Reports, John Scheerhout from the Manchester Evening News and community champion Janet Chapman to question Sir Peter Fahy on his vision for the next three years.
The Chief Constable spoke about the challenges faced by the Force – including the increase in cybercrime, the tough decisions that have led to fewer officers and staff, and the impact of cuts to other services.
By 2017, GMP’s budget will have been slashed by around £173m, leading to the loss of hundreds of officers from our streets. Sir Peter told the hearing this has meant continuous change, which is exhausting for staff but necessary if GMP is to cope with the swingeing cuts.
In his opening address he said: “My vision is to strengthen neighbourhood policing and work with partner agencies more effectively to target the causes of crime and reduce demand on policing services.
“Our relationship with the public is the foundation of local policing and my challenge is to get the best out of my staff and encourage greater involvement from the public in helping us make communities safer.”
The panel quizzed Sir Peter on how the budget challenges will impact on the service provided by GMP and its work with partner agencies, such as local councils, probation and the NHS.
“The worst case scenario is that the police becomes a crisis service. There’s a danger that we’ll lose the capacity to be proactive and will only be able to react to crime.
“The other scenario is that we continue to strengthen neighbourhood policing and partnership working. To do that we need to radically change how public services work together – we deal with the same streets, the same families, so we need an integrated approach.”
The Chief Constable was also questioned on the role of HomeWatch, maintaining staff morale, the challenges of recruiting a diverse workforce, and working more closely with the court system.
“I personally have no doubt in Sir Peter Fahy as one of the outstanding thinkers in modern policing but also as someone who’s already contributed to the necessary changes in the way the policing functions. I couldn’t have allowed him to retire when the he has set in motion are nowhere near at their conclusion.
“This hearing was an opportunity for the Chief to put forward to the public how he plans on meeting the challenges ahead and how he will take forward the community safety agenda in the face of budget pressures.
“I’d like to thank Cllr Colin Lambert, John Scheerhout, Tony Morris and Janet Chapman for joining me on the panel and bringing their experience and expertise to what was an insightful session.”Tony Lloyd
Find out what happened:
- GMP’s three year plan (pdf opens in a new window)
- GMPCC minutes of the Chief Constable’s three year plan themed public forum (pdf opens in a new window)