BOLTON MP Sir David Crausby announced this week that he was preparing to take his concerns about local police funding to the Home Office amid fears that crime is not being dealt with. Seamus McDonnell reports.

NATIONALLY, police force budgets have been reduced by about 20pc between 2010 and 2017, a fall influenced both by a decrease in funding provided by central government and the constantly rising cost of modern law enforcement.

This has led to a noticeable drop in police numbers, with only 6,237 officers available to Greater Manchester Police (GMP) at the last check in September 2017, compared with 7,992 officers a decade earlier.

Sir David says he has been receiving more and more complaints from constituents about officers being unable to investigate crimes.

He said: "There’s an increasing number of constituents coming to me with complaints about the police, either taking a long time to get there or not coming at all, especially as it involves violent crime.

"It’s just not good enough, they need help there and then not an hour later."

The money for policing comes partially from direct government funding and partially through the Police and Crime Precept, a tax which is paid to Andy Burnham's Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

The Conservative Government promised that in 2018/19 it would preserve its own section of this funding in cash terms, meaning it has not gone up or down although costs are increasing.

This means that, in total GMP is set to receive £556 million in funding for the 2018/19 period, although this does not include counter-terrorism policing, which is ring-fenced and accounts for around £757 million nationally.

According to Sir David, police funding is not the only problem. He has pointed to a lack of funding for other public services as contributory issue.

He explained: "What makes it worse is that all these other services are being cut back. The police may be able to find efficiencies but when the council and the NHS are also suffering, how can the system continue to cope?

"The most important thing in any society is security and that’s being threatened at the moment.

"We have got to take advantage of new technology and I brought that up with the chief superintendent when I met him on Tuesday. We need to bring ourselves back into the modern world as far as policing is concerned.

"There’s no doubt that we need to take advantage of new technology and efficiencies but I would like to see us go back up to 8,000 officers because it has become unacceptable and dangerous. There are too many people raising this issue with me."

As well as its usual funding, GMP is also going to receive a special grant from the government of £9.8 million to cover the costs of policing around the Manchester terror attack.

However, the government has also announced plans for a 2pc increase in the wages of police officers this year - the first pay rise of more than 1pc since public sector pay increases were frozen in 2010 - prompting fears that the amount of funding currently provided may not cover costs, and could lead to a further decrease in officers.

In addition, plans were announced last week for the next round of the Police Transformation Fund, a scheme run by Whitehall to fast-track the modernisation of policing.

The next set of this investment, between 2018/19 is set to build on the £223 million which was released in 2016/17.

Minister for policing and the fire service Nick Hurd said: "Criminals don’t stand still, and neither should our police forces. We’re determined to support police leaders in creating a modern, agile and responsive police service."

However, there are no plans from government for any section of this fund to be spent on GMP operations.

DESPITE the lack of finances, police in Bolton have been able to announce a new live chat service, aimed at making law-enforcement more efficient and improving contact between residents and police.

The system came into use in mid-July and was described by GMP officials as a way to decrease the pressure on emergency service call centres.

It followed a campaign to encourage people not to call 999 directly unless serious incidents had occurred - instead using 101 - in an effort to reduce stress on the already stretched police force.

Deputy chief constable Ian Pilling said: “We work really hard to deal with everything that comes in to us in the best and most efficient way possible and remain committed to protecting the people of Greater Manchester. However, we need the public to work with us, think before they call and do everything they can to support each other and keep our communities safe.

“This past weekend we saw almost 8,000 calls to 101 and 999 - an unprecedented increase. The hot weather, weekend drinking and the World Cup all play a factor."

He added: “Please think before you pick up the phone. Do you really need us? Is the information on our website? Could you talk to us via LiveChat? We’re always here to help anyone who needs us, and always will be, but everyone needs to play their part.”

With the police attempting to reduce stress on the system, Sir David says he will be taking the issue to the Home Office once Parliament comes back after its Summer Recess on September 4.

A Home Office spokesperson said:

“We have provided a strong and comprehensive settlement that is increasing total investment in the police system by over £460million in 2018/19.

“Greater Manchester Police will receive £556m in direct resource funding in 2018-19, including council tax precept – a cash increase of £10.7m compared with 2017/18.

“However, we know the nature of crime is changing. That is why the Policing Minister spoke to every police force in the country to understand the demands they are facing and why the Home Secretary in May committed to prioritising police funding in next year’s Spending Review.”


• Decisions about how police deploy their resources, including the size of the workforce, are an operational matter for the Chief Constable.

• It is important to look at police funding in the round. Police funding has gone up by a £1bn since 2015/16, including precept, national investment and counter-terrorism policing.

• Between March 2017 and March 2018, Greater Manchester Police officer numbers increased from 6,318 to 6,349.

• The comprehensive settlement includes £50m for Counter-Terrorism, £130m for national priorities and £280m in force funding from increases in Council Tax precept income.