Strug­gling po­lice put top of­fi­cers back on front line

Middleton Guardian - - FEEL GOOD FESTIVAL - BY NEAL KEELING

GMP is so stretched that of­fi­cers from spe­cial­ist di­vi­sions – even as­sis­tant chief con­sta­bles – are be­ing drafted in to help with com­mu­nity polic­ing.

De­tec­tives from the Se­ri­ous and Or­gan­ised Crime Unit are among those be­ing de­ployed out of their de­part­ments to help deal with a huge back­log of non-ur­gent cases.

A two-week push to try and clear the in­ves­ti­ga­tions has been launched. The prob­lem has been caused by a sig­nif­i­cantly in­creased de­mand on po­lice re­sources fol­low­ing the Arena bomb at a time when GMP was al­ready try­ing to cope with cuts.

Many of­fi­cers are still try­ing to take an­nual leave af­ter putting it off fol­low­ing at­tack.

Five of­fi­cers a day are be­ing al­lo­cated from the Se­ri­ous Crime Unit, which usu­ally deals with rob­bery, kid­nap­ping, and drug deal­ers. It is un­der­stood the other elite de­part­ments are send­ing staff,

Back-up is also com­ing from as­sis­tant chief con­sta­bles who have been moved on to di­vi­sions and away from HQ.

Force com­man­ders say a ‘ Team GMP’ at­ti­tude is re­quired from all.

As­sis­tant Chief Con­sta­ble Vanessa Jar­dine said: “Over two weeks, we’re run­ning a forcewide op­er­a­tion to sup­port front­line staff in meet­ing the de­mand.

“Peo­ple from across the force, in­clud­ing those from spe­cial­ist di­vi­sions, are re­spond­ing to the sig­nif­i­cant de­mand that we’re see­ing on polic­ing from lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties. the ter­ror

“All of our of­fi­cers have a range of skills that en­able them to do their job in pro­tect­ing the peo­ple of Greater Manch­ester as ef­fi­ciently and ef­fec­tively as they can.

“While spe­cial­ist of­fi­cers can be de­ployed as part of this op­er­a­tion, their pri­or­ity is still to re­spond to crit­i­cal in­ci­dents that re­quire their spe­cific skill set. By util­is­ing our re­sources from across the force, we’re able to pro­tect the most vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple in our com­mu­ni­ties.”

GMP has seen its bud­get drop by £180m since 2010, shed­ding nearly a quar­ter of its front-line of­fi­cers and 1,000 sup­port staff.

In the af­ter­math of the bomb, Chief Con­sta­ble, Ian Hop­kins, com­ment­ing on the force’s cur­rent strength said: “Six thou­sand two hun­dred (of­fi­cers) does feel like the lower end of rea­son­able”.

A decade ago, then Chief Con­sta­ble Michael Todd didn’t be­lieve his 8,000-strong rank of of­fi­cers was enough. He wanted 10,000 of­fi­cers, but since then the re­gion’s pop­u­la­tion has grown by sev­eral hun­dred thou­sand to not far short of 3m. Ter­ror­ism and other com­plex polic­ing and safety is­sues – in­clud­ing cy­ber crime and child groom­ing – have also emerged for GMP to tackle.

‘All of our of­fi­cers have a range of skills that en­able them to do their job’

Com­mu­nity polic­ing has suf­fered be­cause of cuts and the Arena bomb

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