Policing Crisis - MP calls for urgent meeting with Home Secretary

October 16, 2006 2:59 PM
Police petition

Mark Hunter MP and Lib Dem activist Helen Foster-Grime talking to local people about their petition to get more bobbies on the beat locally.

Cheadle MP - Mark Hunter - has called for an urgent meeting with Home Secretary John Reid to discuss police numbers.

Figures obtained by local Liberal Democrat MPs reveal that millions of pounds are withheld from Greater Manchester Police's budget every year and divided between other forces, most notably London's Metropolitan Police.

In 2003 £7.7 million was taken; in 2004 £6.7 million was withheld; and in 2005 £5.8 million of money to which the GMP was entitled went elsewhere. This year the situation is even worse: £14 million has been taken away from Manchester by the Government, and this has led to cuts within the GMP just to make ends meet. 216 officers have been lost as a result of this funding cut.

Following Mark's in depth residents' survey this summer, it also became clear that local people want more bobbies on the beat and they believe current numbers of officers are totally inadequate.

Said Mark, "Over the course of the summer, it has become abundantly clear that we need more bobbies on the beat locally to deter crime and - more specifically - to deal with anti-social behaviour. At the moment, local police chiefs simply do not have the resources to ensure a uniformed presence on the street to the level local people expect and deserve.

"And to compound the problem, it has come to light that our local Police force is subsidising London's force to the tune of £14 million this year. It is simply scandalous that local people in Cheadle and across Greater Manchester are paying for extra police officers inn London when our own force is facing a funding crisis."

"In addition, London's Metropolitan Police have a Community Policing Strategy which means dedicated teams of police on the beat in large numbers in every local authority ward area. I and my other Lib Dem colleagues in Greater Manchester want to see that kind of high profile, high visibility policing repeated in our area."

Since Mark wrote to Home Secretary, he has been meeting local people face to face to ask them about their views on local policing (see attached picture). This weekend (14th Oct 2006) saw Mark on the streets of Cheadle inviting local people to sign his petition against the government's withholding of funding to Greater Manchester Police and calling for increased numbers of Police on the beat.

"The overwhelming majority of residents are supporting our calls for greater police numbers in our area. I will present their views to the Home Secretary as and when he accepts my call for an urgent meeting."

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