GREATER Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner has claimed that policing has ‘felt the brunt of the government’s austerity agenda’.

Tony Lloyd was responding to the recent HMIC report in to policing in Manchester.

The report published earlier this month found GMP to be good at keeping people safe and reducing crime and outstanding in tackling serious and organised crime.

It did find the force still needed to improve in some areas.

Mr Lloyd said: “That the HMIC has recognised and highlighted the immense pressure placed on police officers as a result of cuts to public services can only be welcomed. I would question, however, why it has taken so long to come to this conclusion.

“Since 2010, £180m has been axed from GMP’s budget and there are 2,000 fewer officers patrolling our streets. A further £44m needs to be saved by 2020. And it’s not only policing that has felt the brunt of the government’s austerity agenda.

“Through careful spending and transformation of how policing services are delivered, we have absorbed this impact as much as we can and found new ways of working to deliver the best possible service. But budget cuts to both police and partner agencies, rising crime, and the heavy demands placed on policing by complex crimes such as child sexual exploitation, modern slavery and domestic violence, have had a serious impact.

“In terms of GMP’s ‘PEEL’ performance as rated by HMIC, this is good news. Their outstanding commitment to tackling serious and organised crime has been recognised, and for all other categories they have been rated as ‘good’.

Greater Manchester Police, in partnership with other agencies, has excelled in disrupting and dismantling criminal gangs, and Greater Manchester is a safer, better place for this.

“I was concerned about the HMI’s comments about the time it takes for police officers to attend reports of crime and refer vulnerable victims on to other services. I raised this issue with the Chief Constable and he is taking urgent action to address this.”

He added that in Greater Manchester the impact of mental health on policing has quickly been recognised and steps have been taken to tackle this.