- Proposed £10 increase in police precept to improve response times to reported crime with more staff in force contact centre
- Reversal of years of government cuts to frontline policing will see police officer numbers back up to nearly 75 percent of the 2000 lost since 2010
The Greater Manchester police precept public consultation has been launched today [Mon 17 Jan]. The consultation proposes an increase to the police precept for 2022/23 to fund improvements to policing to help keep communities safe by boosting response times to reported crimes and funding more officers. The proposed increase comes after clear evidence of improvement in Greater Manchester Police (GMP) performance under the new Chief Constable.
The precept is the police element of council tax, and the consultation proposes a £10 increase for a Band D property or £7.77 for a Band B property – which the majority of Greater Manchester taxpayers will pay. The proposed increase, along with the central Government policing grant, will fund:
- The transformation of the GMP contact centre that deals with 999 and 101 calls. The investment will increase staffing levels and flexibility to ensure calls are answered quickly and police officers are sent to those in need immediately.
- 438 additional police officers, with 60 of them dedicated to road safety which will allow TravelSafe officers to focus on other policing such as public transport safety.
- Continuation of the new Operation Avro days of action. These days, which will take place in each area of Greater Manchester, will see a surge of officers and specially trained teams dealing with issues communities tell GMP they want to see dealt with.
- A community messaging system that Neighbourhood Policing Teams will use to inform local communities about what they are doing and that the public can use to get more involved in working with local police officers to identify issues of concern within the locality.
The proposed precept increase is needed to help make up for many years of funding cuts that has hollowed-out GMP. Between 2011-19, the Government cut the grant they provide to GMP in real terms by £215 million, which has resulted in 2,000 fewer police officers, 1,000 fewer support staff and devastating cuts to other essential resources. The grant GMP received for 2020/21 was £10m less than they received a decade ago in 2010/11, and that is without factoring in inflation. Since 2017, asking the public of Greater Manchester to fund a modest increase in the police precept has allowed the Mayor to enable the recruitment of 992 more police officers with GMP.
The current police precept for a Band D property is £218.30 which would increase next year to £228.30 a year and a Band B property will go up from £169.78 to £177.55.
Over this financial year, the Mayor and Deputy Mayor, Beverley Hughes, have sought to address the concerns raised by HMICFRS in their inspection of GMP in December 2020. Under a new Chief Constable, Stephen Watson, who took office in May, there is a new improvement plan and there has already been significant progress in terms of performance:
- The 52-week average answer time for 999 calls of 36 seconds has reduced to 27 seconds by the end of 2021.
- There has been a 55 per cent reduction in the waiting list for incidents to be dealt with.
- An investment in 167 extra new cars for response officers and increased driver training capacity so more staff can respond to emergency situations.
- A focus on arresting more criminals with the announcement to re-open the Bolton custody suite to support this. The proposed precept will help fund the re-opening.
- A 92 per cent attendance rate at burglaries with the aim to offer attendance to every victim.
- Compliance with crime recording standards improved from 77 per cent to over 90 per cent, with over 95 per cent for crimes involving some of the most vulnerable victims.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “Having withheld the full increase of the police precept this time last year due to performance issues, GMP is now in a different position. We now have a new Chief Constable with a new improvement plan, and we should show our confidence in that plan. That is why should be backing him through more resources to get GMP to where it needs to be.
“Under the new Chief Constable’s leadership, he has already made considerable progress in tackling crime and remains on track to fully implement his improvement plan. While there is still more to do, I hope the public will agree with me in this consultation process to support our police by giving them more funding so they can truly transform into the service we want them to be and keep our communities safe.”
Deputy Mayor for Policing, Crime and Criminal Justice, Beverley Hughes, said: “As we don’t have the same number of frontline officers we had back in 2010, it is vital that we continue to invest in our force to make sure they are focused on and have the resources they need to fight and prevent crime. Funds raised by the police precept will help us make further and faster changes to GMP including response times to reported crime, arresting more criminals, a one hundred per cent attendance offered to every victim of burglary, and more officers recruited to improve road safety
"We want the public to have confidence in GMP again and with the help of local taxpayers through the police precept, I know we can do that.”
There have also been efforts to improve accountability of GMP and of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor with their Police and Crime Commissioner responsibilities by introducing meetings for elected representative across the city-region to question them. The first of these meetings took place in November 2021.
Last year also saw the Mayor and Deputy Mayor publish a new and ambitious ten-year Greater Manchester Gender-Based Violence Strategy, with a new Board to oversee its implementation already set up and meeting. A campaign aimed at tackling the harassment of women and girls in public places by men and boys was launched in December, with the campaign video viewed over four million times on Twitter.
The public can respond to the police precept consultation at www.gmconsult.org by Thursday 27 January 2022. The final precept needs to be agreed by the Greater Manchester Police, Fire and Crime Panel which is made up of councillors from each of the 10 councils and is chaired by a councillor.
Article Published: 17/01/2022 17:21 PM