Barbara has challenged the Conservative-led government with the fact that their budget cuts are causing a serious loss of frontline police in Greater Manchester which could lead to a rise in crime.
Greater Manchester Police will face cuts of nearly 1,400 police officers and over 1,500 staff by 2015, a 23% reduction in staff, in an effort to save £134 million. There are concerns that the speed and scale of the cuts to the annual police grant and depletion in police numbers may lead to a rise in crime in Manchester.
In March 2010 there were a record 8148 police officers in the Greater Manchester police force. Between 2003 and 2010, total crime fell by 35%.
The cuts in police numbers will happen despite numerous pledges made by the Conservative party during the 2010 General Election campaign that they would protect frontline services. Greater Manchester Police Commissioner Peter Fahy told MPs on the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee that the cuts would create a fundamental change to the way in which policing is conducted in Greater Manchester, with fewer police on the streets.
Barbara had asked the Policing Minister, Nick Herbert MP, what had been the trends in crime since 1997. Rather than answer the question directly, the Minister had said that trends in crime produced a picture that was either “partial or confusing”.
In her reply, Barbara told the Policing Minister:
“The picture of crime in Greater Manchester is neither partial nor confusing- between 1998 and 2009, the number of police officers rose by 1200 and crime fell by a third.
“However, with the cuts imposed by this Government, Greater Manchester police will lose 1,400 police officers. Our chief constable told the Select Committee on Home Affairs that that will mean changes to policing, fewer police on the streets and a lesser service.”