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GMP Fed: ‘Officers Working Beyond Capacity’

Service will ultimately be compromised by cuts in central government grants

Huge cuts to police officer numbers could leave the service “unable to cope if riots break out in the country again”, the chairman of Greater Manchester Police Federation has warned.

Ian Hanson said officers in his force – which according to HM Inspectorate of Constabulary stands to lose 1,520 police officer posts by 2015 – will be unable to sustain the level of service they provide to the public with falling officer numbers.

The projected loss of officers in GMP is the biggest fall in officer numbers any force faces in England and Wales – including the Metropolitan Police.

¬I call for the government to wake up to what is happening on their watch and face up to its responsibilities.¬

Mr Hanson said: “The police officers of GMP are working well beyond capacity.

“The way the force reacted to events last week in Oldham is testimony to their professionalism and commitment – but they and their colleagues around the country quite simply cannot sustain this for much longer.

“The HMIC report spells out we are losing in excess of 1,500 police officers from GMP which is 19 per cent of our strength. This is nearly double what other forces are losing.

“That same report spells it out to the government that some southern forces, including the Met, are in danger of not being able to provide a decent standard of service.

“There are 30,000 police officers in the Met and they are losing fewer officers – 1,350 – than are to disappear off the streets of Greater Manchester. That cannot be right.”

Mr Hanson added that he shares the view conveyed by officers in a recent Guardian newspaper report on last summer’s disorder– “that if we were to see the a return of last summer`s riots then we may not be able to cope.”

The chairman added: “This is not scaremongering, it is fact. We saw the worst disorder for a generation last year and still we are haemorrhaging police officers off the streets of England and Wales. If last year’s events repeat themselves I have grave concerns as to how effective our response will be.

“The first duty of every government is to protect its citizens. On behalf of the people who make up Greater Manchester Police I call for the government to wake up to what is happening on their watch and face up to its responsibilities."

Sir Peter Fahy, Chief Constable of GMP, said: “Over the past year we have lost more than 1,200 staff as a result of the budget cuts and this has been very painful. To cope with this the force has been through a huge programme of reorganisation.

“Our staff have not let the public suffer during this period of change and crime is down by 12 per cent.

“There is always a great focus on police officers numbers – but just as important is how those officers spend their time and whether their effort is resulting in reduced crime and improved service.

“Over the coming year there will be more change and uncertainty for our staff but they will remain focused on giving the best possible protection to the public.”

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