PCC candidates row over police funding

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A HUGE row has erupted between the two leading frontrunners to become Wigan’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

Borough Labour and Cooperative Party Coun Paul Kenny has blasted claims in a leaflet published by Conservative candidate and former Wigan Mayor Michael Winstanley ahead of the November hustings.

Coun Kenny highlighted the commitment from Mr Winstanley to protect frontline community policing at a time of “savage” cuts to the Greater Manchester force by the Government which he represents.

Coun Kenny said: “The Government has hit Wigan with a double whammy of savage cuts to our council and local police force.

“Michael Winstanley and his Tory Government have no plan to cut crime, only to cut nearly 3,000 police jobs which will have a real impact on fighting crime and anti-social behaviour across local communities.

“The Government’s claim that frontline services can be left unaffected by their 20 per cent cuts has already been exposed as a sham by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Policing. David Cameron should urgently rethink the scale of police cuts and set out a proper plan to cut crime instead.”

He claimed Labour’s “more proportionate” cuts plan of 12 per cent over a Parliament was shown by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, and work by the previous Government, to be deliverable without impacting on frontline services.

But Mr Winstanley hit back that “once-again” the Labour Party is being disingenuous with the public.

He claimed: “Crime is continuing to fall under this Government as announced last week with figures released by GMP and in the last year we had 13,000 fewer victims of crime in Greater Manchester.

“I have read the HMIC’s report earlier in the year which said that the front line of Policing was being protected but not preserved.

“The reason why we are in the financial mess that the Country is in is thanks to the mismanagement of the last Labour Government which bankrupt the country.

“The reason why we have less police is thanks to Labour.”

I won’t take any lectures from the Labour Party about Law and Order that put the criminals needs ahead of the victim even Jack Straw has admitted that.”

He added that he would look at ensuring that police officers and Police Community Support Officers spend “more time on the front line rather than dealing with the red tape and burecaracy” along with the “countless targets” imposed upon them by the last Labour Government.