POLICING is set to get tougher with more criminals taken off Bolton's streets, say Town Hall chiefs following a meeting with Greater Manchester Police's Chief Constable Stephen Watson.

Bolton Council Leader Martyn Cox invited the newly appointed Chief Constable to meet with councillors and hear the criminal issues affecting the borough.

Issues raised included drug dealing, burglary and dangerous driving.

Concerns over women's safety and child sexual exploitation were also raised following high profile national cases.

The meeting was called following concerns that crimes were not being investigated.

Cllr Cox said: "We had a comprehensive question and answer with the Chief Constable over two-and-half-hours.

"The issues raised burglary, speeding traffic, dangerous driving and drug dealing, which we believe are not being policed properly and he agreed and what message is this sending out to the criminal fraternity.

"He said GMP made half the arrests South Yorkshire Police had made and spoke about the problems GMP had, partly it was due to the IOPs system and he spoke about police officers being brave but poorly led. It was breath of fresh air to hear what had gone wrong."

Cllr Cox added: "Drug dealing was another concern and the distress it causes to the community and improving women's safety was also a priority.

"The Chief Constable gave a frank address about what had gone wrong and his plan of going back to basics, arresting criminals."

He added: "He said if no significant improvement was made he would resign."

Cllr Mudasir Dean said: "This was a crucial step in reassuring councillors that after being thrown into 'special measures', GMP now has a leader capable of turning things around.

"Chief Constable Watson spoke of how he will take more criminals off the street; ensuring every crime is investigated, focussing on neighbourhood policing; and tackling big issues in Bolton, such as aggressive begging at traffic lights and speeding.

"We will work with the new Chief Constable to deliver change in our area and make sure there is real accountability within Greater Manchester.