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GM Mayor calls for guaranteed police numbers in wake of crime spike


The interim Greater Manchester Mayor Tony Lloyd has called on Chancellor Philip Hammond to guarantee numbers of new police officers after government figures showed a leap in crime in the region.

The former Manchester Central MP is urging Mr Hammond to commit to recruit more new police officers in his November Autumn Statement.

Violent crime across Greater Manchester was up 17 per cent to 52,184 incidents in the year to June 2016, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.

The ONS’s full report: Crime Survey for England and Wales can be found online here.

In total, all crime increased by 7 per cent over the 12 month period to 201,111 incidents.

Reports of sexual offences increased by 11 per cent to 5,877.

Shoplifting, robbery and burglary all saw 1 per cent increases, theft rose by 2 per cent and vehicle crime grew by 5 per cent to 23,633 recorded incidents.

There were 34,402 records of criminal damage and arson, an increase of 10 per cent.

The only crime type to fall was drug offences, which dropped by 24 per cent in the same period.

“People will be worried by the increase in crime particularly increases in violent and sexual offences,” said Mr Lloyd.

“We have worked hard in Greater Manchester to transform the policing service, to ensure that we focus our resources on the crimes that cause the most harm to our people and communities and to build confidence in the service so that victims do report crime.”

In response to the figures, the National Police Chiefs’ Council said the increase could be partly down to improved crime reporting and victims having more confidence to report incidents to the police.

Lead for Crime and Incident Recording Chief Constable Jeff Farrar said: “[This] is particularly important for those experiencing domestic abuse, sexual offences, and harassment.

“We are not complacent about any crime rises, even if analysis suggests changes to recording and reporting are behind these figures.”

Mr Lloyd continued: “But the reality is that our police are still over-stretched and under-resourced, with cuts to other public services piling on additional pressure.

“We need government to step up to the plate and commit to the safety of our society – not with lip service but with real action and real resources.

“Greater Manchester Police has lost more than 2,000 officers in the last six years.

“We look to the Chancellor to guarantee in the Autumn Statement that this erosion will not continue.

Chancellor Philip Hammond has ruled out plans to “splurge” in the Autumn Statement, which will be unveiled to Parliament on 23 November.

Speaking to the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee on Wednesday, Mr Hammond said budget “discipline” would continue, but refused to be drawn on what exact policies would be revealed.

He also said that given the economic uncertainty around Brexit it would not be “sensible” to try to continue with former Chancellor George Osborne’s plan to deliver a budget surplus by 2019/20.

He said: “Of course there is an option of squeezing a slowing economy to deliver a fiscal surplus target. I personally don’t think that makes much sense.

“What we do in the meantime will be proportionate, measured and responsible.

“I can promise you that it won’t be some kind of splurge.

“I have no plans to reopen the Spending Review which enshrines ringfenc[ed budgets], but I will say more about this in the Autumn Statement.”

The next ONS crime figures for England and Wales are due to be released on 19 January 2017.

Main image: Chancellor Philip Hammond speaking to the Treasury Select Committee © www.parliament.uk

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Tom is SalfordOnline.com's News Editor and community co-ordinator.