I was upset, but not particularly surprised, to listen to an interview with Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, Ian Hopkins on BBC Radio Manchester, in which he stated that 60% reported crimes in Greater Manchester, including in my constituency of Bolton South East, are “screened out”. This is due purely to the Police not having the resources to conduct more than a very cursory investigation into the circumstances of the allegation.
He went on to explain that GMP would be forced to prioritise the most dangerous crimes and overlook crimes perceived to be less serious, as long as they were underfunded. 80% of police funding comes from Central Government, which has seen a national 18% cut in real-terms since 2009/10 according to The Institute for Government. The upshot of this is that we are seeing an overstretched service struggling to cope with demand, an insufficient number of police officers on our streets, and a general public that has lost faith in a service that cannot respond in time.
Doubtless, the strain on Police services has also been exacerbated by the increased demand for mental health services – a service that has also been stripped to breaking point within the NHS. This is an issue that was brought to the Government’s attention in 2017 by the Metropolitan Police, but pitifully little has been done to remedy this.
I have written to the Minister for Policing and the Fire Service, the Rt Hon Nick Hurd MP, to express my dissatisfaction and worry about this state of funding affairs. I have urged him to work with his colleagues to reverse the damaging impact of austerity on our public services and offer a renewed funding pledge to Police services across the country that actually reflects demand, population growth and inflation. It is vitally important that our public services meet the needs of the general public.