LOCAL bobbies were accompanied by a special guest on their patrols on Friday evening.

Ashton, Droylsden and Failsworth MP Angela Rayner joined the Tameside division of Greater Manchester Police on their beat around the Borough. The beat was arranged after Angela had raised concerns with local police chiefs about the number of contacts her office was fielding on the subject of crime and anti-social behaviour.

Following a briefing at 6pm at the local police HQ, Angela went out on the road with local officers until midnight – covering the peak Friday night period.

Angela said, “Crime and the fear of crime is one of the main concerns of my constituents. Given the number of people getting in touch with my office, particularly in relation to the perceived lack of action on incidents of anti-social behaviour in Ashton Town Centre, I thought it important to get the opportunity to experience life on the policing front line first hand.”

Greater Manchester Police have shed almost 2000 officers since 2010. Despite some recruitment now taking place, by 2020, the force will still be 1800 officers smaller than it was 10 years previously. When the cuts to civilian staff and PCSOs are taken in to account the total GMP workforce will have shrunk by 3000 over 10 years.

Angela continued, “There is no doubt that the police have faced significant cuts. When cuts on this scale are made there will inevitably be a decline in the service that can be provided. That’s why I thought it important that I undertook this patrol to see for myself what exactly the effect of these devastating Tory cuts have been.

“Despite the difficult financial circumstances that have been needlessly imposed on them by the Conservative government, our local bobbies continue to work to the highest standards of professionalism and afford community safety the full focus of their attention. There just aren’t enough of them.

“Given that the Conservative party purports to be ‘the party of law and order’ it’s fair to say that their cuts to the police are somewhat contrary to what you would expect. Only Labour’s plan to recruit 10,000 new officers will put bobbies back on the beat protecting our communities.”

Following the patrol Angela plans to redouble her efforts to press the Government for more policing resources in Greater Manchester. She has committed to sharing her experiences with Tameside Council and Community Safety organisations to consider if there are other ways that crime and anti-social behaviour can be managed locally with the limited resources available. To this end Angela is set to meet Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime in Greater Manchester, Baroness Beverley Hughes, to discuss her concerns and those of her constituents.

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