No crime free days in a decade: GMP fight robbery, rape and violence on daily basis – and cuts will make us suffer more

Exclusive by Dean Wilkins

There has not been a violent crime-free day across Greater Manchester in more than ten years, with five reports of serious offences being the lowest number police have received in any 24-hour period.

Serving around 2.5million, while working with forces across the country, Greater Manchester Police have been forced to deal with robbery, rape, firearm offences and many other serious crimes on a daily basis.

A Freedom of Information request obtained by MM found that Greater Manchester has been rife with serious crime day in, day out for the past ten years – and looming government cuts come as unsettling news for the force.

In the last decade, GMP have experienced just five days where the lowest amount of serious crimes reported was five.

Lucy Powell, MP for Manchester Central, fears that the force’s hard work to tackle crime levels is at risk of unravelling as GMP are squeezed into axing 1,138 officers from the street.

“I would love to see a day when Greater Manchester has a day free from crime but I doubt whether the government’s cuts make this more likely,” Ms Powell told MM.

“The fact that some of the lowest days of criminal activity have been in recent years is promising but I am really worried that the levels of cuts GMP have to bear puts the good work of the past in danger.

“We have been telling the government again and again that when police budgets are cut, areas like ours suffer but they don’t want to listen.”

ONLY AS LOW AS FIVE: Police force will struggle to cope with 25% cuts in hunt for violent crime free day across Greater Manchester

With an international reputation for suffering from gangs, organised crime and high murder rates, New York City boasted the news that they had managed to go 24 hours without reports of violence on November 26 2012.

In the year that delivered their lowest murder rates since the 1960s (just 366 at the time) the Big Apple’s police force were hailed as ‘remarkable’ by many for their achievement.

And with a population four times larger than the whole of Greater Manchester, the public are being urged to continue showing their support for GMP – while helping their fight against criminality – in hope of regularly emulating NYC’s feat.

Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy said:  “The public must believe that their police force is working for them.

“The arrival of the Police and Crime Commissioner allows us to look for new ways of strengthening that accountability and to ensure the views of the public and the staff of GMP are heard.”

A saving of £134million must be made by GMP by 2015, leading to the loss of 1,000 staff jobs and severe slashes in frontline officers.

Newly-elected PCC Tony Lloyd vowed to fight against government proposals to make 25% reductions, as concerned residents demand for must to be done to protect falling crime rates.

PCC Lloyd said: “I am disappointed that the government continues with these reckless cuts to the policing budget.

“I have been listening to the public who are rightly concerned about the impact of these cuts on the police’s ability to effectively fight crime and keep them safe. I will continue to fight for our communities against these cuts, which will mean a loss of 300 police officers from our streets next year.”

As police are forced to thin their resources, Chief Constable Sir Peter has urged his officers to focus more on persistent offenders, to carry out more arrests and strive to improving communities – leading to residents feeling safer in their homes.

“As important as the crime figures is the fact that independent surveys show that local people have more confidence in GMP and believe their area is getting safer,” Sir Peter added.

“We are committed to building on the success in tackling crime and antisocial behaviour and will do that regardless of the financial pressures that we continue to face.”

Almost 10% of crimes across the region are committed by persistent offenders.

And as police aim to build upon public support, they are working with independent charity Crimestoppers to encourage residents to speak out about offences they witnessed or suffered from.

Gary Murray, Crimestoppers North West Regional Manager, told MM: “It only takes one brave person to get the ball rolling and police can proceed with their investigations.

“It costs police more than £100,000 when a murder happens, and the public can help reduce those costs by helping with their investigations.”

With a rising population, a faltering economy, a static employment and housing market and a police force that is pushed into unwelcome setbacks, it could be do-gooders and community spirit that is crucial in continuing to drive down crime levels.

Sir Peter added: “This has been a very challenging year for GMP but the dedication of our staff and the support of the public has led to this further significant reduction in crime.

“It has come about through strengthening relationships with local people through neighbourhood policing, and work with other agencies.”

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