COMMUNITY safety in Bolton will suffer if cuts to the police force continue, the Mayor of Greater Manchester has warned.

Andy Burnham said that there was a link between reduced resources for neighbourhood policing and serious crimes being committed, including terrorism.

He was speaking to an audience of around 100 people at a Mayor’s Question Time event at the Victoria Hall on Thursday night.

Mr Burnham praised the work done by Greater Manchester Police, but said there was only so much that could be done after seven years of cuts that have left the force with 2,000 fewer officers on the streets.

He added: “Something has got to give and the give is going to be community safety.”

In response to a question from Harper Green councillor Sur Haworth about whether Bolton gets its fair share of police funding, the Mayor issued a stark warning that cuts are likely to continue next year and that extra funds will have to be raised through council tax.

Mr Burnham said: “My fear is we are at a point where we are going to get more cuts. My feeling is people in Greater Manchester don’t want to compromise on policing, so we need to raise what we can locally.”

Chief Constable Ian Hopkins told the crowd that Bolton is the second busiest borough in the city-region for crime and that it does get fair funding.

The Mayor added: “The single biggest thing we can do to prevent and tackle crime in GM is to give every child hope when they leave school that they have a good future.”

Cllr Haworth said afterwards that she had been told ‘home truths’ about the lack of police resources that were ‘very hard to hear’.

House-building and the protection of green belt land was also a major topic of discussion at the event.

Mr Burnham admitted that ‘difficult decisions’ would have to taken over what land to make available for housing, but suggested designating new green belt areas to compensate for the loss of others.

One member of the audience, Kevin Bennett, said that nobody in authority was listening to concerns about a lack of infrastructure in Horwich to meet a growing population’s demands.

The Mayor also pledged support for the regeneration of Farnworth under his Town Centre Challenge scheme, as well as Bolton’s £1 billion transformation plan.

He said: “I will support Cliff Morris and the new leader of the council in delivering that plan.

“I love Bolton town centre and would love to see it have a period of regeneration.”

Mr Burnham also said that he would like to expand the Metrolink to Bolton, if the funding could be found, but could not say that it would happen in the next 20 years.