We need local agencies and –most importantly – local people on board if we are to make our communities safer, Tony Lloyd told Tameside residents this week.
The Police and Crime Commissioner was speaking at the latest #TalkToTony event at Dukinfield Town Hall, joined by Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Jim Battle and Tameside’s Divisional Commander Chief Superintendent Caroline Ball.
Dozens of people, including local councillors and community volunteers, came along to quiz the panel. The event, on Monday 30 September, was also covered live on Twitter and can be replayed here.
Tony, Sir Peter Fahy and Chief Superintendent Caroline Ball each paid tribute to PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes, who were tragically killed in Tameside just over a year ago.
“We’ll never forget their sacrifice,” said Chief Superintendent Caroline Ball. “The greatest tribute we can make is to continue the fight against organised crime across the borough. We need your support to continue that fight.”
Working more closely with local communities was one of the main topics of the evening.
“Neighbourhood policing is central to Greater Manchester Police in driving down crime. But it only works if the community is on board and we need local people and agencies including the local council, probation, drug and alcohol services, to work more closely with the police to build safer neighbourhoods,” said Tony.
Concerns were raised about the impact of continuing budget cuts on local policing, which is threatening this partnership working.
In response Tony said: “The threat to our communities because of the cuts is very real and all agencies are facing the same budget pressures, which means the police are more and more the agency of first response and last resort,”
“The key to making our communities safer is the police’s ability to respond to crime, but also the responsibility of other agencies to work with police to tackle the underlying causes of crime, such as drug and alcohol addiction.
“I told the Policing Minister Damien Green MP last week that enough is enough – these reckless cuts can’t continue.”
The role of volunteers was also championed at the event, with the Commissioner and Chief Constable welcoming closer working with the third sector.