Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner has welcomed a fall in crime but issued a stark warning to the Government – ‘enough is enough – we can’t take any more cuts’.
Home Office figures released today (Thursday 18 July) show that crime in Greater Manchester has dropped 11% between April 2012 and March 2013, compared with the previous 12 months.
“Of course it’s good news that crime continues to fall in Greater Manchester and I want to thank GMP officers and staff for their continued commitment to keeping our communities safe in the face of reckless cuts.
“The Government will use these figures to justify wielding the axe on the police service, as we lose more and more bobbies off our streets. But the stark reality is that the police are being expected to do a lot more for less, resources are being spread thinner and thinner and the police service is increasingly becoming the agency of first and last response as other public services also bear the brunt of budget cuts. My message to the Government is – enough is enough, there’s only so much we can take. These cuts are damaging our communities and Ministers need to listen and realise this, and have a serious rethink.”
The figures also show a 5% increase in sexual offences over the last 12 months, with reports of historical sexual offences increasing by a third, making up 25% of all reports.
“There have been some horrific cases of sexual abuse recently, from Jimmy Saville to Stuart Hall to the tragic case of Frances Andrade at Manchester’s Chetham’s School of Music. One of the few positives we can take from these cases is that it would appear it has encouraged more victims to come forward and report historic abuse,” adds Tony.
“This isn’t me or the Chief Constable glossing over the increase in sexual offences – this is something we have discussed and expected as a result of these high profile cases and GMP has a dedicated team of officers investigating these horrific crimes. These victims have taken an incredibly brave first step. That’s why it’s even more important that we put victims at the heart of the criminal justice system to give people the confidence that they will be listened to and supported through the justice process.
“Overall, although crime is dropping, at the end of the day these are just statistics. Behind the numbers are real people, dealing with the real consequences of crime. Statistics can never be a comfort to them and is why we need to make sure we get it right first time and give victims the confidence to report crime and work with the police and partners to build safer communities.”
Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy said: “This has been another challenging year for the Force and thanks to the dedication and commitment of our officers and staff, as well as support from the public, crime has fallen across Greater Manchester.
“Despite financial pressures the Force has achieved its targets to reduce victim based crime which includes violence against a person, theft offences and domestic burglary. That said, there has been an increase in the number of sexual offences reported to us. This in part can be attributed to the Force’s drive to encourage victims to come forward as well as national media coverage of high profile cases.
“It is really important that victims report crime to the police as it allows us to see the full picture of offending and target our efforts accordingly.
“We have to strike a balance between investigating crimes after they have happened and being proactive against that group of criminals who commit most crime. We make no excuse for visiting them regularly, recording what they are wearing, carrying out stop and search where the grounds justify and generally trying to get the evidence to have them locked up.
“On the other hand where offenders are genuine in wanting to mend their ways we will work with probation and other agencies to help them to change their lifestyle. It is this balance of targeted enforcement and problem solving with other agencies which has helped us to reduce crime further.”
Greater Manchester crime figures – April 2012 to March 2013:
- Victim-based crime: 161,008 recorded crimes – 11% reduction compared with previous 12 months
- Violence against the person: 29,042 recorded crimes – 10% reduction compared with previous 12 months
- Sexual offences: 2,750 recorded crimes – 5% increase compared with previous 12 months
- Robbery: 3,971 recorded crimes – 5% reduction compared with previous 12 months
- Theft offences: 96,006 recorded crimes – 10% reduction compared with previous 12 months
- Criminal damage: 29,239 recorded crimes – 17% reduction compared with previous 12 months