Police chief hails fresh approach

Ian Hopkins - chief constable of Greater Manchester Police
Ian Hopkins - chief constable of Greater Manchester Police

Wigan is at the forefront of the region’s fresh approach to community policing, the new leading officer of Greater Manchester Police has said.

As the force continues to tackle the effects of budget cuts, chief constable Ian Hopkins said improved partnership working was crucial for the future of policing.

The new top cop also revealed officers would be issued with kit to encourage remote working out in the community.

Speaking to the Evening Post, the Chief Constable said: “We are currently running a pilot scheme based in Platt Bridge which is at the cutting edge of what we hope to roll out across Greater Manchester with devolution.

“It has been running for six months and sees housing officers, drug and alcohol co-ordinators, children’s services, adult support workers and PCSOs all working together to deliver an effective service and help people resolve any issues they’re having.

“(It will) allow people to lead their lives without the dependency on public services we have been used to seeing in the past.

“We also want to issue our officers with new tablets and smart-phones so they can work increasingly remotely which is great news for people here in Wigan. They can work in places like Platt Bridge, for example, out in the community, run checks, write reports, without coming back to a station.”

Ch Con Hopkins took over from Sir Peter Fahy late last year and is now four months into his new role.

A former assistant chief constable, he previously oversaw Wigan Division.

He said: “(The new role) has been going well although it has been a challenging time operationally across the force.

“We have seen a number of murders, shootings in Manchester and organised criminality in Salford.

“But we have had the relatively good news about the budget (in the chancellor’s spending review).”

Having been threatened with significant cuts, forces across the country were relieved to find George Osborne had shelved plans to reform the police grants system.

Ch Con Hopkins said: “It has put the force in a strong position, while we’ve still got to save £67m over the next four years, it has meant we’re able to maintain officer numbers which is good for local people here in Wigan because we won’t be losing the number of officers like it looked like we were facing last year.

“And for the first time in five years we will be recruiting new officers in significant numbers.”