Police posts face axe in latest cuts

The Road Policing Unit at Leigh Police Station
The Road Policing Unit at Leigh Police Station

THIRTY Wigan traffic police posts are being axed as part of swingeing budget cuts.

The Leigh-based traffic unit is due to close next month, with Greater Manchester Police (GMP) set to keep just two other sites.

This means that the region will be covered by 90 dedicated traffic officers instead of 120 in order to find savings of £134m by 2015. Some have criticised the move.

One employee, who asked not to be named, said: “The wheel is wobbling big time at the moment but we are just about keeping it on.

“We’re concerned that in another 12 months we will be talking about a fatality and we’ll be asked some serious questions from the coroner. Lives are being put at risk. Response times will be affected.”

But force bosses have denied claims motorists’ safety was being put at risk.

Chief Insp Rachel Buckle said: “In line with the ongoing budget cuts at GMP, the structure of road traffic policing will change to make two traffic hub units.

“Both units will have the resources and expertise to enable our specially trained traffic officers to do their job effectively. The claim that there could be as few as seven officers on duty is simply not true and for the safety of the public, we would not allow that to happen.

“Since the budget cuts came into force, we have changed the way our traffic officers work. We have a dedicated Bike Unit which continues to have success in tackling anti-social use of off-road and quad bikes.

“We work more effectively with our Traffic PCSO colleagues, who also deal with anti-social vehicle use and the lower level traffic offences.

“The introduction of the Highways Traffic Officer Service meant there was less need for police on the motorway network to attend lower graded incidents.”