GOVERNMENT cuts were today blamed for a huge increase in local crime.
Overall offences rocketed by a massive 14 per cent across Greater Manchester in the year up to last September.
And while some categories - including robbery, burglary and drug offences - did experience a fall, the majority went up, and some by a considerable amount.
The most startling figure was for sexual crimes which soared by 46 per cent to 5,611, although a 38 per cent hike in violence also makes for shocking reading.
There were also single-figure increases in theft, shoplifting and vehicle crimes.
Greater Manchester’ Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd laid the blame firmly at the Government’s door.
He said: “The public will rightly be worried that overall crime is undoubtedly on the rise. That’s why I, along with the support of many people across Greater Manchester, urged the government to pull back from its relentless and reckless programme of cuts – and I’m pleased that they have finally listened.
“But the fact remains that, since 2010, Greater Manchester’s police service has lost 2,000 police officers and still needs to find £70m worth of savings over the next three years – on top of the £180m that’s already been saved.
“With reported crime continuing to rise, it’s vital that we make sure resources are available where needed – both to solve crimes and to work with partner agencies to prevent them from happening in the first place.
“This is one of the reasons why I’m asking Greater Manchester residents to pay an extra 10p a week from their council tax towards policing.
“Such a step would help us raise around £3.5m towards policing – the equivalent of 70 police officers.”
Statistics show that in 2014/15, GMP received more priority calls, relative to population, of any police force in England, and Greater Manchester is the most challenging area for policing in England and Wales.
Deputy Chief Constable Ian Pilling said: “We recognise that any rise in crime is going to be concerning to the communities we serve. I can say however that we are continuing to change the way we police to help us concentrate on those crimes which pose the greatest risk or harm to the public.
“We are doing this at a time where we are continuing to face some tough resourcing issues that inevitably have an impact on the service we provide. Also, while there is a rise in recorded crime we have actually seen a reduction in actual incidents reported to us.
“What this tells us is that part of the rise in crime can be attributed to GMP’s improved compliance with national recording standards which came into force last year.
“The situation in Greater Manchester is not unique however - it reflects a national trend that has seen recorded crime go up across the country.
“Statistics are useful, but what is more important to us is the service we provide to individual victims of crime on a daily basis.”
A breakdown of statistics for Wigan borough is currently not available.
To have a say on Mr Lloyd’s proposals to increase council tax by 10p a week at www.gmpcc.org.uk/counciltax