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Mayoral Hustings: GMP misconduct against women should be a priority for the next mayor of Greater Manchester

A hustings event today, led by Project PEEL, gave a voice to some of the women who bravely came forward to share their experiences as victims of police misconduct.

Questions were being put to mayoral candidates Nick Buckley, an independent candidate, Dan Barker, for Reform UK, Laura Evans, for the Conservative and Unionist Party, and Hannah Spencer, Green Party.

Project PEEL is a not-for-profit grassroots community and youth group and the event was launched with a hard-hitter. One victim had had issues with the Data Office failing to disclose information which was needed for legal reasons. This person had to wait four years for body cam footage to come to light.

Barker stands strongly on this subject, stating no watchdog should be needed and if elected, he would speak strongly to the Cheif Constable when such issues arise.

Buckley said: “The police are a public body, we pay for them through our council tax and they work for us. They are not doing us favours.

“Body cam footage going missing when it is important to a case is not good enough. There should be more support for the handling of police complaints”.

He also stressed that more public oversight is needed, including a panel, since the IPOC is a national body. However, issues arise when the problem is deflected, avoiding culpability for your region.

Spencer stressed the importance of grassroots organisations being funded, so that the likes of Project PEEL can be available to a more diverse group of people and not just those who can afford to go. In that case, such issues can be made more public.

She added that given the huge amount of powers devolved unto Greater Manchester Combined Authority, there should be more scrutiny against them.

However, there is a feeling there has been a disproportionality in this respect which has led to such corruption. A good system for her would be one that echoes the likes of the London Assembly, where more accountability is present.

More gruesome stories were then recounted, of a woman whose son was put on Grindr at just 12-years-old and sexually exploited. The mother of this boy complained but received no reply.

She says police told her justice would be slow to come if she formed a complaint, essentially advising her against it.

The mother of that same 12-year-old boy was herself strangled by the police, and during her bureaucratic interaction with GMP, was denied access to her own complaint.

Buckley said child sexual exploitation is particularly predominant at the moment, especially for boys, and that all police officers who commit such crimes should be arrested.

“The police are not above the law,” he added, which was met with cries of “they think they are”.

Spencer responded that cultural change takes time, and that we need a leadership that does something about such problems.

It was argued that police pay more attention to Tik Tok’s and Facebook when combating crime than on what actually matters.

Barker argued that a public inquiry is needed into this, into the grooming gangs in Rochdale and all over the region.

Louise, a support worker, had been abused by her mother. The police came around to her house and found her with scratches and bruises on her arm. They later put it on file that she was mute – she is not.

She is one of many women who have CCTV in their home as a direct result of their experience with the police.

She wanted to talk to Kate Green, Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester for Police, Crime, Criminal Justice and Fire, about this, but she failed to attend her meeting with Louise, like many Police Officers who manage to dodge interviews.

In a similar vein, the co-ordinator of the event told of how she is offically declared missing, according to police files, and will soon be declared dead – She is not.

Buckley said: “It will be known who put that misinformation on the system. The act was either that of an incompetent officer, or of corruption. This officer’s mistake will have effected the rest of the complainants interaction with the GMP.”

He added that someone high up in the police service cares more about their reputation than the people they are serving. They want to be an MP, and will do what it takes to get there.

Evans, who has been fighting for improvement in this area since the last election, said: “we (Greater Manchester) are forerunners in everything, but not here.

“Let’s be forerunners in something that effects people’s lives.”

Buckley, who has experience training police officers, said: “In a situation where there are two drunk people shouting, police just want to be done with the case and move on.”

One woman bravely told her story about when she was raped. The police officers said the rapist seemed like a nice man and lost the DNA from the incident.

She is a single mother struggling with the cost-of-living crisis, and couldn’t afford the legal fees to further her complaint against the force. She thinks council tax should pay for such legal fees.

Police were sent to her home, both of whom were above 6ft tall. Evans said such tactics are used to intimidate.

Spencer claimed rape is essentially decriminalised, and that legal fees are only something that the rich and powerful have access to. In a similar vein, Louise, the alleged mute, had to pay £700 to prove she was not mute.

Evans succinctly said there are always “shiny new pledges” put in place, for the disabled, for old people, but there should be one for this issue, as there hasn’t been yet.

The elections will take place this Thursday May 2.

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4 Comments
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Lorna McMahon
Lorna McMahon
27 April 2024 9:42 pm

Where is my story in relation to the late itv Journslist Teresa McMahon ??? Cherry picking are we , I wonder why ?

Lorna McMahon
Lorna McMahon
27 April 2024 11:14 pm

Can I ask why you have failed to mention itv journalist Teresa McMahon ? Her tragic loss of life was mentioned and acknowledged at this event by all the candidates.

Last edited 1 month ago by Lorna McMahon
Paul Kilbey
Paul Kilbey
Editor
Reply to  Lorna McMahon
2 May 2024 4:04 pm

Hi Lorna, and thank you for your comments. There was certainly no deliberate effort not to include your story: our reporter turned the article around quickly, and was hence only able to mention a few of the topics discussed. This was in no way meant to undermine the issue, and we didn’t mean to give that impression.

Louise
Louise
27 April 2024 11:49 pm

Thankyou for showing up today and speaking to all of us. We’ll written piece

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