The Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester, Bev Hughes, has branded government promises to protect communities “meaningless” due to a lack of police funding.
New crime figures released by the Home Office show that police-recorded crime in Greater Manchester has increased by 8% in the 12 months leading up to September 2018, compared to 5% nationally.
The highest increases come from reports of violent crime and sexual offences, up 12% and 13% respectively.
Hughes did, however, welcome a recently published draft Domestic Abuse Bill, which includes stronger powers to tackle coercive control and economic abuse.
Hughes said: “Earlier this week, the Government announced its commitment to tackling domestic abuse and protecting victims and survivors. Whilst I welcome this announcement of new tools and powers, they will be useless if police and the criminal justice partners do not have the resources needed to enforce them.”
She added that: “Local policing continues to be stretched, with continued increases in serious and violent crime.
“Instead of supporting and investing in our police, ministers seem to remain blinkered to police pressures – apparently oblivious to the experiences of more and more victims, to the women and men who put themselves on the line day in, day out, and to the need to do more to keep communities safe.”
The Deputy Mayor also urged local residents to give their views on her proposal to ask residents to pay more to strengthen police officer numbers. The proposal entails using additional funds to recruit at least 320 extra police officers, improve the 101 services, increase the grants to local authorities to fund community safety initiatives, and tackle both serious and violent crime and violence against women and girls.
Central government funding to police forces has been cut by around a third since 2010 and the number of officers has fallen by over 20,000.
In December, the Home Office announced ‘the largest increase in police funding’ since 2010, with £970 million additional funding released to enable police forces to recruit more officers. This figure was still met with criticism for being too low.