Greater Manchester Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner said:
“That the HMIC has recognised and highlighted the immense pressure placed on police officers as a result of cuts to public services can only be welcomed. I would question, however, why it has taken so long to come to this conclusion.
“Since 2010, £180m has been axed from GMP’s budget and there are 2,000 fewer officers patrolling our streets. A further £44m needs to be saved by 2020. And it’s not only policing that has felt the brunt of the government’s austerity agenda.
“Through careful spending and transformation of how policing services are delivered, we have absorbed this impact as much as we can and found new ways of working to deliver the best possible service. But budget cuts to both police and partner agencies, rising crime, and the heavy demands placed on policing by complex crimes such as child sexual exploitation, modern slavery and domestic violence, have left our police services with little wriggle room.
“In Greater Manchester we quickly recognised the impact mental health was having on policing and we’ve taken steps to tackle this which has led to reduced demand on the police and a huge reduction in the number of people suffering a mental health crisis being held in police custody.
“In terms of GMP’s ‘PEEL’ performance as rated by HMIC, this is good news. Their outstanding commitment to tackling serious and organised crime has been recognised, and for all other categories they have been rated as ‘good’. Greater Manchester Police, in partnership with other agencies, has excelled in disrupting and dismantling criminal gangs, and Greater Manchester is a safer, better place for this.
“I was concerned about the HMI’s comments about the time it takes for police officers to attend reports of crime and refer vulnerable victims onto other services. I raised this issue with the Chief Constable and he is taking urgent action to address this.
“Inaccurate crime recording has remained an issue, partly because of outdated technology, which is why, along with investment in body-worn cameras and mobile technology, a force-wide computer systems upgrade programme is in place to ensure technology keeps pace with the changing face of modern policing.
“Overall, GMP’s ‘PEEL’ rating is excellent news. Against a backdrop of new and emerging threats, complex crimes, reduced capacity of partner agencies, and severe budget cuts of its own, Greater Manchester Police has proven itself to be an effective, capable police force, committed to the people and communities it serves.”