Local MPs unite to fight for police force funding

February 16, 2006 10:07 AM
Mark and Brian Millard outside Cheadle Heath police station

Mark and council leader Brian Millard visit Cheadle Heath cop shop

Police numbers in Cheadle and the wider Stockport area could be cut by Greater Manchester Police, who face a budget shortfall of up to £14 million.

Now Stockport's two Liberal Democrat MPs, Andrew Stunell and Mark Hunter, have teamed up to challenge the Government to stump up the cash needed by the force to fight crime and keep bobbies on the beat.

Speaking today, Cheadle MP, Mark Hunter condemned the Government's under funding of services that could put people in Stockport at risk. Mr Hunter said:

"I am alarmed that Government under funding could mean a reduction of 200 police officers in our area. This would take the numbers of bobbies on the beat to below 8,000, the minimum figure the Chief Constable has said is needed to cut crime in Greater Manchester."

"We see few enough police officers on the beat already. Further cuts would be completely unacceptable."

Hazel Grove MP, Mr Stunell added:

"Cutting crime is a key concern to the people of Stockport. We need more police on the streets, not less. This blows a big hole in the government's claim to be backing the fight against crime in our area.

"It is striking that this news from our cash strapped police force comes in the same week that the Government decided to spend billions on an unpopular and ineffective identity card scheme. I have asked the Government to abandon plans for identity cards in favour of more police on the streets of Greater Manchester and throughout the rest of the country."

Now the MPs are asking other MPs of all parties to back their campaign for the Government to bridge the funding shortfall and to maintain essential police services in Greater Manchester. ENDS

Notes to Editors:

1. Mark Hunter and Andrew Stunell have tabled the following Parliamentary motion:

That this House notes with concern reports in the Manchester Evening News that Greater Manchester Police face a budget shortfall of up to £14 million and that this could result in a reduction of up to 200 police officers, reducing overall numbers to under 8,000, the minimum figure that Chief Constable Michael Todd has said is needed to effectively cut crime; welcomes plans by the Police Authority to come to London for crisis talks to avoid damaging cuts to the police budget and urges the Government to bridge the budget shortfall; further notes that the Chief Constable has said that his ideal force would consist of 11,000 police officers; and believes that an additional 3,000 officers on the streets of Greater Manchester would be a more effective method of tackling crime and disorder than the Government's proposed identity card scheme; and therefore urges the Government to abandon plans for identity cards in favour of more police on the streets of Greater Manchester and throughout the rest of the country.

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