Government cuts won’t stop us transforming local policing, says Greater Manchester’s Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd.
Despite Government promises to protect police budgets Greater Manchester Police had their funding slashed by £5.7m this year, meaning that the service needs to find saving of £14m this year and £44m by 2020.
Tony Lloyd has announced today that despite these cuts he must continue the recruitment drive that began last year, with hundreds more new officers to be recruited this year to maintain the number of police officers on our streets keeping our communities safe, while increasing the diversity of the service.
Last year, for the first time in five years, GMP began recruiting to help shore-up the service, including 200 directly recruited from Greater Manchester’s communities. The investment announced today allows us to keep police officer numbers at around 6,300, down from 8,000 officers in 2010. The first 100 of these new recruits were sworn in as police officers last month. Today’s announcement will boost this recruitment drive.
Tony said: “This is still a cuts budget. The Government’s continued failure to safeguard police funding has left me with no choice but to increase the policing element of the council tax by an average of £5 a year. I do this reluctantly as I understand the financial pressures local families are facing, and both I and the Chief Constable are committed to investing this money in the frontline and keeping as many officers as possible on our streets.”
“Greater Manchester is a proudly diverse region. It’s common sense that our police service is reflective of this, and is able to understand the communities it serves. Last year, I was able to support the Chief Constable in beginning recruitment on a scale we haven’t seen in five years, giving us an opportunity to bring in fresh ideas and diversity to the workforce. I’m pleased to see that of the 100 new recruits from local communities; more than a third are from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.
“The budget I have announced today will help to boost this recruitment, giving more local people the opportunity to get into policing and help keep our streets, homes and families safe.
“Greater Manchester is the most challenging area to police, with officers faced with increasingly complex investigation and rising crime levels. With this budget I am investing in the safety of our communities and supporting the Chief Constable in maintaining an efficient, effective police service – a service that understands its communities, a service that local people can have confidence in.”
Tony’s budget for 2017-18 reveals:
- The central government grant issued to GMP is £5.7m less than last year, meaning the service needs to find savings of £14m over the next 12 months, and £44m by 2020.
- Council tax contributions towards policing increases by £5 a year for the average Band D property. The additional £3.5m raised through the increase – which is the equivalent of maintaining 70 police officers – will be invested in the frontline.
- The recruitment drive will maintain officer numbers at around 6,300, replacing officers who leave the service, which is around 500 a year. This is still 2,000 fewer officers than 2010 levels.
- Continued investment and transformation of GMP’s IT systems to ensure the service is fit for purpose and officers are able to do their jobs while out and about in the community.
- Investment in innovative projects to reduce demand on public services and protect vulnerable people.
- Funding to local authority Community Safety Partnerships and voluntary and community groups.
- Co-design of a new service which will act as a gateway for all victims of crime whether they choose to report to the police or not.
Since 2010, £180m has been axed from GMP’s budget and there are 2,000 fewer officers patrolling our streets. But crime continues to rise, with officers dealing with more complex and challenging issues such as child sexual exploitation, domestic abuse and cybercrime. Cuts to other public services also add additional pressure.
Tony unveiled his budget at his forum meeting today (Wednesday 15 February).