Greater Manchester Police’s Ian Hopkins has denied that Manchester city centre is a dangerous place following claims that police can no longer guarantee the public’s safety after dark.
The comments from Deputy Chief Constable Hopkins come in reply to Manchester Police Federation Inspector Ian Hanson’s claims that even he would not visit the city centre after midnight.
However, DCC Hopkins did accept that the police are facing greater challenges, forcing continuing budget cuts and ensuring a reduction in the number of serving police officers is inevitable.
DCC Hopkins said: “The city centre is growing rapidly, which is fantastic, but with this comes greater challenges for those of us responsible for ensuring public safety at a time when all public services are facing significantly reduced budgets.”
With the city centre attracting more than 100,000 people every weekend, DCC Hopkins believes that increased funding is urgently needed to ensure GMP can continue to operate effectively during their busiest hours.
“Greater Manchester Police and the City Council both agree that more funding is required to manage the city centre and that the alcohol industry is making a significant profit from the sale of alcohol, some of that has to be channeled into frontline services,” said DCC Hopkins.
Both GMP and Manchester City Council say they are working hard to tackle the issue of anti-social behavior caused by excessive drinking in the city.
DCC Hopkins added: “There is a real commitment to accelerating proposals already being considered in relation to alcohol treatment centres, improved transport away from the city centre in the early hours of the morning, restricting the opening hours of any problematic licensed premises and raising additional funds for frontline services.”
Inspector Hanson had previously claimed that 24-hour licensing laws had led to chaos in Manchester city centre, causing the area to spiral out of the police’s control.
He also claimed that even he would not venture into the city centre after midnight on a Friday or Saturday night, saying the situation was at ‘crisis point’.
DCC Hopkins said: “Manchester city centre has significantly more visitors than other cities up and down the country, but the challenges we all face with managing the night time economy are no different in Manchester to Liverpool, Sheffield or Leeds.
“Although we disagree with Ian Hanson that Manchester is a dangerous place, we all agree that Manchester is a fantastic city and that we all want to continue to make it a safe and vibrant environment place despite the challenges we face.”
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