Election over, now we tackle the budget: Sir Peter Fahy calls for focus in light of Manchester police commissioner vote

By Robbie Gill & John Paul Shammas

With the celebrations of Tony Lloyd’s win as Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner still on-going, Sir Peter Fahy is keen to not lose focus on tackling Greater Manchester Police’s budget concerns.

After Labour’s Mr Lloyd was elected as Manchester’s first PCC, Sir Peter also stressed the authenticity of the elections despite the disappointing turnout.

With the long period of uncertainty now over, he is keen to sit down and discuss the serious issues of policing in Manchester.

He said: “The number one key issue sadly is the budget reductions we face and the fact that we’ve got to lose 300 officers this year and next.

“We’ve got major threat from organised crime and investigations into child sex exploitation and we want to work with the new commissioner to address these priorities and difficult decisions.”

The sense of public confusion surrounding the elections has been cited as one of the reasons for the low turnout and he admitted there were still some factors that were yet to be settled.

He said: “It is a very new system and a lot of detail is still to be worked out, the big question is what builds below the PCC what s the network of consultation and the relationship with the public.

“What is important is not so much the accountability at the Greater Manchester level, it’s what is the accountability on your estate and your street, that’s what most people are bothered about.

“We must decide how the police can be more responsive, but at the same time how can we get more people working with us to help to make their area better.”

Sir Peter will now be working closely with the new commissioner to reduce crime and make the new system work.

He said: “We must have a professional relationship that we involve him very closely but we do recognise that there is an accountability mechanism in place and it is very important that the relationship isn’t too cosy.

“He must feel that he can hold me and the force to account on important issues. The public must be assured that there is a robust accountability and scrutiny for the new system to work.”

The turnout was poor nationally, but the Chief Constable was eager to rise above the speculation and stressed the legitimacy of the elections.

He said: “I am very disappointed with the turnout, but it was a properly conducted election. What worries me is that there is a suggestion that police accountability is broken and it is not.

“It’s important and we take it very seriously in terms of our relationship with the public and we must now build on this.”

There has been much speculation that the poor national turnout has de-legitimised the mandate of the new commissioners, however Sir Peter refuted any such claims.

“I don’t think this has compromised the mandate of the elected PCC’s we need to get beyond these discussions,” he added.

“We have a police force to run and decisions have to be made. We have crime to investigate, we need to get beyond the speculation and get on with the job in hand.

“We’ve got a new system, policing is a crucial public service and we must now move forward and concentrate on the issues of reducing crime and locking up criminals.”

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