Fewer police on streets

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THERE will be fewer police officers on Wigan’s streets next year as a result of unrelenting cuts, the local Police and Crime Commissioner warned last night.

Under the current Government’s plans, by 2020 Greater Manchester Police will have seen its budget slashed by almost half in the space of 10 years.

The figures have been revealed as commissioner Tony Lloyd announces how the dwindling policing budget has been slashed by another £41m over the next 12 months.

Mr Lloyd said: “The way this Government is relentlessly continuing with its cuts to policing is unfair to the people of Greater Manchester and is making it more and more difficult for Greater Manchester Police to provide an effective service. We have already lost 1,100 police officers from the streets of Greater Manchester and this year we are facing another cut of £41m, which there will be hundreds of fewer police officers on our streets. How does the Government expect GMP to keep communities safe if we haven’t got enough bobbies on the beat? Ministers continue to justify cuts to policing by claiming that crime continues to fall. In Greater Manchester, this simply isn’t true. Crime has risen by eight this year, particularly violent crime and domestic violence.

“While Greater Manchester Police have faced up to the financial challenges by transforming how policing is delivered and making sure vulnerable people are protected, the Government has to recognise that they are putting communities at risk.”

On top of the cuts imposed by Whitehall, this year the Government has clawed back almost £10m to pay for its pet projects – more than £3m more than what it took from the police budget last year. This is money that could have paid for 200 police officers in Greater Manchester.

Mr Lloyd added: “To be losing almost half the policing budget by 2020 is unpalatable. What makes it even more galling is how the Government continues to claw back millions from our police to pay for pet projects that have no benefit to the people of Greater Manchester.”

One piece of good news for Wigan residents is that this year Mr Lloyd has decided to freeze the police element of the council tax bill. That means the average household will pay just £2.93 towards the cost of policing – one of the lowest in the country.

“It may be small consolation to local people that I’m not asking them to pay any extra towards local policing this year, but the reality is that they are being forced to pay more in other ways with cost of living increases and cuts to other public services all having an impact on neighbourhoods,” he said.