Local MP Mark Hunter challenges Prime Minister over the police funding crisis in Greater Manchester

March 14, 2007 2:16 PM
Mark questioning Prime Minister over local police cuts

Mark questioning the Prime Minister over local police cuts

Today (14th March 2007), Mark Hunter MP for Cheadle questioned the Prime Minister at the weekly Prime Minister Questions session about the appalling lack of funding for the Greater Manchester Police Authority. This follows the presentation of a petition with over 5,000 signatures to 10 Downing Street 10 days ago calling for more funding for the GMPA.

As confirmed by the Labour run GMPA, the force is facing cuts of up to £39 million over the next three years, which could mean the loss of up to 600 police officers from the streets of the area. Further to this, the Chief Constable Michael Todd, informed Mr Hunter of a worrying £14 million a year of 'their' money subsidising the Metropolitan Police in London, a fact which is only increasing the funding crisis in our area.

The Prime Minister did not deny these figures or the problems facing the Greater Manchester Police, answering only with a comment about the new flexibility available for police authorities in the funds given to them, and that there were more officers now than when Labour took over from the Tories in 1997. He failed to make any assurances that action would be taken to resolve this funding crisis.

Commenting after Prime Minister's questions, Mark Hunter said, "The reply from the Prime Minister did not answer my question, and will have done nothing to reassure my constituents that the Government is prepared to do anything to resolve the funding crisis.

This funding shortfall will almost certainly lead to further cuts in local police numbers, a situation which is totally unacceptable. It is only with more bobbies on the beat that crime and antisocial behaviour can be tackled effectively.

I know this issue is important to local residents, because I constantly receive letters about the lack of community policing. Our area suffers from an inadequate police presence, with residents commenting that they only seem to respond in an emergency, like the Fire Brigade.

The Chief Constable has said that he needs 8,000 police men and women to patrol our area, but we have already lost over 200 in the last year. In this situation we need more funding for local policing, and certainly not less.

It is frankly scandalous that the Government is doing nothing to resolve this unacceptable lack of funding. I will continue to work to press the Government to give the Greater Manchester Police the money needed to ensure that the people of Cheadle have the local police presence they expect and deserve".

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