At PMQs today, Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith slammed the Prime Minister’s record on police funding, and urged her to invest in Greater Manchester Police (GMP).
Since 2011, GMP have been forced to cut £186 million from their budget, resulting in a loss of around 2,000 officers – a quarter of their force. £57 million of further cuts have been requested by the Home Office by 2022.
The Prime Minister said in 2015, as Home Secretary, that crime was falling as a result of police funding cuts, and said the Police Federation were ‘crying wolf’ and scaremongering for calling out the risks of further cuts.
Last month, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police Ian Hopkins said in an interview with the Manchester Evening News that:
“People might accuse me of being simplistic, but either the public have to understand that that’s just the way policing is now in the 21st Century and we make difficult decisions around our resource allocation and what we’re dealing with – or there has to be more police.
His comments follow those of John Apter, Chief Executive of the Police Federation, a representative body of police officers, who said:
“We can’t do everything; there are going to be situations where we simply can’t deliver the policing we want to deliver.
In those cases we are failing the public but that’s not the fault of police officers on the ground, and in some cases it’s not the chief constable’s fault. You can only slice the financial cake so many ways and you have to prioritise“
Jeff pressed the Prime Minister on police funding, asking:
“Does the Prime Minister agree with the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester when he says – after losing 2,000 officers in 8 years – that the public have to accept that, without more resources, it’s impossible for the police to respond to low level crime like car break-ins, anti-social behaviour and even property theft.
Is that just the reality of policing under this government or when will the prime minister commit to give our police the funding they need?”
Commenting after PMQs, Jeff said:
Chief Constables like Ian Hopkins see the reality of funding cuts on the ground so when he warns us about the future of policing, we should listen.
Instead of using police officers as scapegoats and passing the buck onto cash-strapped local authorities, the Prime Minister should focus on cutting crime, not police officers.”
Jeff is urging the Home Secretary to invest in Greater Manchester Police after 8 years of cuts, with residents signing up to a petition on his website.