Consequences of savage police cuts will run deep

Tony Lloyd


This comment piece by Tony Lloyd appeared in the Manchester Evening News on Wednesday 15 October 2014.

It follows GMP’s Twitter Day, where the service tweeted every call from the public it received on Tuesday 14 October.

GMP’s Twitter Day has given a fascinating insight into the challenges that Greater Manchester’s officers, staff and volunteers face.

We have read about significant incidents, including missing teenagers being found, wanted people getting caught and victims of rape bravely coming forward. There has been the mundane, such as lost property being found and burglar alarms going off. And how police time can be wasted, such as the person who rang up to complain about their neighbour feeding the pigeons.

The tweetathon has shown the breadth of incidents that police have to respond to and the volume of reports they receive.

It sits alongside news of other great successes that GMP have seen recently, such as the seizure of more than £250k of Islamic State terrorist funds made at Manchester and other north west airports over the past year.

So the news that the government is plotting yet more savage cuts to our police service is nothing short of an insult to the men and women of GMP who work each day to keep us safe.  But worse than that, it is a kick in the teeth to the communities GMP serves.

We have all seen the impact of the government’s cuts programme. So the rumours that the fresh round of cuts being dreamed up in Whitehall could go even deeper is unacceptable. 

The Manchester Evening News has rightly challenged the government on this. You can read the Policing Minister’s vacuous response in these pages. You will note that he does not deny the scale of the cuts we face.

Over the past 24 hours we have seen the extraordinary job that Greater Manchester Police do.

But we should be in no doubt – if the government ploughs on with this foolhardy approach to public services, the consequences will be stark. Fewer police on our streets. Longer response times when you contact police. More crime. Divided communities. Unsafe neighbourhoods.

This is a bleak, depressing vision of the future, but it is not scaremongering. Policing in Greater Manchester is already being stretched and damaged.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

The men and women of GMP demonstrate a real dedication to build safer communities, which I support wholeheartedly. And the people of Greater Manchester have demonstrated time and time again a genuine commitment to work together to make our neighbourhoods even better.

We must challenge the Government to join us on our journey. Home Office Ministers can tell the Government  that the cuts must be cancelled.  

Are they brave enough to do it? 

 

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