The police officer’s job spec is simple, right? We catch burglars, break up fights, stop speeding motorists and chase down drug dealers, rapists and murderers.
Yes we do that.
But we do so much more than that. It may surprise you to hear that around eight in ten calls we receive are not about crime.
We search for missing people. We look out for the vulnerable. We keep football matches safe and patrol neighbourhoods. We carry out house to house enquiries and when a major event or incident takes place, we take to the streets to provide reassurance.
And we step in to help where others cannot.
We keep people safe while they wait for mental health professionals to help them. We are specially trained so that when we are first on the scene to someone threatening suicide, we can bring them to safety.
We deliver babies and give people CPR.
We literally save lives.
But this is at risk.
We have serious concerns about our ability to carry on doing these traditional, vital duties. #WhatDoWeStop?
Greater Manchester Police has seen £145.5m cuts over the past four years and more is to come.
Police officer numbers have been reduced as a result. In 2009 your force had 8,232 sworn officers. By 2014 that had fallen to 6,844. That is 1,388 officers fewer.
To put that into context, four years ago GMP had one police officer for every 334 members of the public. Now it is one per 410.
What impact is that having on you? It’s taking us longer to respond to your calls for help when you need us. Crime is on the increase for the first time in 20 years, with violent crime and domestic violence rising by 8 per cent this year.
Our own Chief Constable, Sir Peter Fahy, has warned that we will become a “reactive” force.
What does that mean? No more patrols. No more reassurance. No more work with the community, building trust and vital intelligence links that we need to prevent drugs crimes, murder, terrorism.
We are a busy force.
On an “average” day in Greater Manchester Police officers:
Deal with 532 crimes every day
Make 178 arrests
Take three people daily to places of safety under Section 136 and Section 57 of the Mental Health Act
Try to find 27 missing people
Deal with 80 child protection reports
Tend to 48 victims of burglary
And deal with 90 accidents on the area’s road network.
That is why we have launched this campaign. We have suffered £185 million in cuts. So we are asking you, the public #WhatDoWeStop? The debate needs to be had.
Police officers have traditionally been much more than crime fighters. But we are overstretched and under resourced and something has to give.
We need appropriate funding to enable our hard working members to do their jobs. So if you want us to carry on, giving you a world-class policing service, please write to your MPs, talk to politicians and tell high profile people of your concerns.
Tell them what you want, and deserve from your police service if these cuts do not stop, next time we are asked for help, we will have to say “no”.
So it’s up to you. #WhatDoWeStop?
What would YOU stop?
Chairman, Greater Manchester Police