Barbara has praised Greater Manchester Police officers and fire-fighters who worked tirelessly to deal with violence, looting and fires during the riots and public disorder in Salford and Manchester. She is calling on the Conservative-led Government to stop cuts to police budgets.
Greater Manchester police officers were called upon to tackle large and violent crowds in Salford. The police repeatedly came under attack from missiles thrown by the criminals who also set buildings and vehicles on fire and looted shops and businesses.
Parliament held an emergency session to discuss the Public Disorder and Barbara raised with the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary her serious concerns about the shortage of police officers and the reports that being outnumbered and lacking the right protection put the officers’ lives at risk.
However, on a visit to Salford David Cameron still refused to commit to the Conservatives rethinking their cuts to police budgets.
“I pay tribute to the bravery of our police and fire-fighters in standing up to the violent crowd and dealing with the fires and damage they caused. I am deeply concerned that riot officers have said they were outnumbered and did not have the resources to deal with the violence that confronted them.
“I told the Prime Minister that Greater Manchester police were overstretched on the day of the riots and unable to face down a violent crowd of 1,000 individuals. We have already lost 300 police officer posts and there is no case for any more cuts to police budgets. I also asked the Home Secretary about riot police officers saying that they did not have the staff, protection or resources to deal with the riots and that officers feared they could have been killed.
“The Conservative-led Government must look again at their cuts to police budgets to make sure that we have enough police officers to keep our streets safe. Labour is also calling for a full independent inquiry to look at what happened and the lessons that we need to learn. I will keep challenging the Government about these two issues.”