First Twitter webchat between GMP’s Chief Constable and Manchester residents

By James Haviland

Twitter was used for the first time as an online webchat between GMP’s Chief Constable Peter Fahy and Manchester residents this week.

The interview on Monday gave an insight in to the difficulties faced by the Greater Manchester Police Force and also the problems confronting Manchester residents.

Many people took the opportunity to praise Chief Constable Fahy for his officers’ work during the riots.

Gillian Heap said: “The GM Police did a fantastic job during the riots.

“I am proud to be from Manchester and how the whole situation was dealt with has enhanced this further.”

Others questioned how police would cope with riots in the future.

MM asked: “With the scale of government cuts to police departments how do you feel you would be able to combat large scale riots in four years’ time when the full extent of cuts has come into effect?

Chief Constable Fahy said: “This is a complex issue about how we use police officers in the future the amount of bureaucracy they have, the way they are measured and the way we use technology.

“There is absolutely no substitute for police officers on the street properly trained in these situations so you have to make sure that there are other colleagues who can fill in to allow the police officers to deal with the disturbances.”

Another subject on the mind of residents was that of Vincent Cooke and how far the law protects people defending themselves in their own homes.

Vincent Cooke was arrested on Saturday evening after allegedly fatally stabbing a burglar after a struggle in his home in Stockport.

One resident, Kim, asked: “What are your opinions on defending your property and how far you can go to protect it regarding the recent incident with Vincent Cooke.”

Chief Constable Fahy replied: “I think recent experience shows that the criminal justice system takes a clear view that those who are acting in self defence to protect themselves and their property will not face prosecution.

“The Criminal Law Act 1967 is quite clear on this.

“As I have explained previously however we have to arrest those involved so that we can be absolutely clear what has happened and collect all the evidence available.

“We have to safeguard against situations however where someone could invite another person to their address and then kill them on the pretext that they were being attacked first.”

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