Pledge follows critical report on GMP’s failure to record crime
Andy Burnham has promised that every resident in Greater Manchester will be assigned a ‘named police officer’ in a bid to improve accountability within the Greater Manchester police force (GMP).
The policy means that residents of each ward are able to contact a named police officer and a named PSCO.
Policing has been identified as a weak spot for Burnham ahead of his campaign to be re-elected as Mayor
Details of the named officer can be found on GMP’s Your Area page, and a badge number and contact form for each officer is provided.
The Mayor said, “It’s been stood up to ensure that people have got that ability to have a dialogue with their local team”. He also said the move will “improve accountability”.
The London Metropolitan Police rolled out a similar policy in 2016 - as part of its Safer Neighbourhoods drive - based on the Local Policing Model which emphasises collaboration between the police and the community.
Funding for the police comes both directly from a central Government grant and also from the police precept. About 25 percent of the funding for GMP comes from the police precept, one of the lowest proportions in England.
To fund the changes, Burnham has proposed an increase in the police precept by an average of £12 to £15 per household. As the precept is proportional to council tax, the increase for any particular household depends on the band a property is in.
Policing has been identified as a weak spot for Burnham ahead of his campaign to be re-elected as Mayor for Greater Manchester this year. The election is currently timetabled to take place on May 6 2021, after being rescheduled from May 7 2020 due to the Covid pandemic.
However, this year’s proposed date is also under review.
Greater Manchester Police was investigated by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) in December 2020, producing a 25-page report that detailed how the force had failed to record over 80,000 crimes in a year.
The HMIC report concluded that: “The service provided to victims of crime by Greater Manchester Police, particularly vulnerable victims of crime, remains a serious cause of concern. Over one in five of all crimes reported to the police in Greater Manchester are not making it onto the books. The position is worse when it comes to recording violence against the person, where more than one in four crimes are not being recorded.”
Chief Constable Ian Hopkins has since stepped down from his role. Announcing his resignation, Mr Hopkins said: "These are challenging times for Greater Manchester Police. The force has a long-term strategic plan to address the issues raised by the HMIC and I believe this plan should be led by a Chief Constable who can oversee it from start to finish.
Mr Hopkins was named the force's Chief Constable in 2015, and will be replaced in the interim by Deputy Chief Constable Ian Pilling.
Mr Burnham said that Mr Hopkins' permanent replacement would be sought after in in the new year, commenting: "Now is the time for new leadership and a new era in our police force."
Critics of Burnham have called the ‘named police officer’ policy “window dressing”. His Conservative rival in the mayoral election, Laura Evans, said in a Facebook post: “Andy Burnham the Mayor has thrown the chief constable under the bus to protect his own failings… [he] didn't prioritise GMP and champion our police force and sadly will continue to blame anyone he can.”
Burnham's plan for GMP
In addition to the named officer policy, a number of changes have been announced, including:
- accelerating recruitment into the new Centralised Crime Recording Unit to allow for the recording of all crime at the point a victim first contacts the police
- the delivery of detailed training to all frontline officers and staff on crime recording and support for victims
- the launch of the Greater Manchester Crime Support Line for anyone who previously reported a crime to GMP and wished to raise concerns or make a formal complaint. Victim Support, which manages the line on behalf of GMCA, has received over 200 calls so far