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Declarations of Interest
Councillors and officers to declare any interests which they have in any of the items on the agenda for the meeting.
Councillors and officers were invited to declare any interests which they had in any of the items on the agenda for the meeting.
No declarations were made.
To consider call-in items (if any).
There were no call-in items to consider.
Following the HMI report into Greater Manchester Police (GMP) which has resulted in them being placed in “special measures”, an extraordinary scrutiny committee meeting to allow members to ask questions of Mayor Andy Burnham as Police and Crime Commissioner and Deputy Mayor for Policing Bev Hughes as the accountable local politicians, to understand how the recent problems with GMP came about, what progress has been made so far towards correcting these problems, and what the future plans are.
A copy of the Mayor’s statement made at the Police and Crime Panel Meeting on Friday, 29 January 2021 is available to view here https://www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/news/statement-from-mayor-of-greater-manchester-at-police-and-crime-panel-meeting/
The Chair reported that this item had been placed on the agenda at his request.
The Chair stated that he had convened the meeting to allow the committee to scrutinise the political leadership of policing in Greater Manchester in the light of the report on the inspection of the service provided to victims of crime by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) undertaken by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate (HMI) of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services that had been released on 10 December 2020.
It was acknowledged that officers on the frontline had a challenging time, particularly over the last year with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic; but given the additional challenges posed by the introduction of iOPS and reduced officer numbers the strains felt by the service had been around for some time.
The Chair stated that at future meetings of the scrutiny committee it was anticipated that members would have the opportunity to speak to chief officers within Greater Manchester Police to discuss operational matters.
Andy Burnham (Mayor of Greater Manchester) and Baroness Beverley Hughes (Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime) attended the meeting to respond to councillors’ questions.
Mr Burnham addressed the meeting and stated that in discussing the concerns in the HMI report, nothing that would be said would detract from the work being undertaken by officers across Greater Manchester. It was stated that GMP had struggled to cope in terms of capacity and performance resulting from the loss of 2,000 officers since 2010 as a result of government cuts. However, it was acknowledged that the way in which those cuts had been implemented had contributed to a loss of connection with the communities that GMP was supposed to serve. It was further stated that a policing model had been implemented that didn’t deliver the right level of support to victims of crime.
Mr Burnham stated that the removal of dedicated inspectors for each GM district had been identified as a mistake and that there had been a consequent retreat from partnership working. While there had been some progress on a number of issues between 2016-18, this had not been sustained, and iOPS had been identified as a factor in that. Mr Burnham expressed his concern that there had been a negative excuses culture within GMP and that questions from the Mayor’s Office in relation to the introduction of iOPS had not always been answered to his satisfaction.
It was stated that there had been some recent improvements, including the introduction of a named officer and PCSO for each ward in Greater Manchester which had now gone live on GMP’s website so that any resident can now find a designated officer for their community. Work was taking place to introduce more senior policing cover based on policing divisions and recruitment of additional officers was ongoing with 670 more officers in the force than in 2017.
Finally, Mr Burnham confirmed that work was taking place to appoint a new Chief Constable as quickly as possible.
The following comments were then made/ issues raised:-
· In response a question about the deployment of policing resources, it was stated that this was based on risk and the crime profile of the area. It was confirmed that the police had operational independence and were able to deploy resources where they believed they could best use them to protect the public.
· Concern was expressed in relation to the apparent slow pace with which the GM Police, Fire and Crime Panel had convened to meet to discuss and respond to the urgency presented by the HMI report.
· The Mayor’s Office was open to ideas on how scrutiny arrangements for policing and crime could be improved and strengthened.
· There was a monitoring process and action plan in place specifically around the issue of the reporting of crime.
· In response to a question about when the Mayor had been made aware of the issues raised in the HMI ... view the full minutes text for item 3.