LEADERS have responded to an MP's concerns about policing, putting the issue down to Government cuts.

Bolton West representative Chris Green recently challenged authorities to 'improve local policing' after he was contacted by residents in Blackrod who were worried about an increase in crime.

Greater Manchester's deputy mayor for policing and crime Beverley Hughes said public safety was a 'top priority' and said 2,000 police officers had been lost since 2010.

She said: "The police are committed to protecting the public and keeping our streets safe, but we know that Greater Manchester has many challenges from serious and organised crime to high numbers of vulnerable people and of course the threat from terrorism and extremism. Greater Manchester Police has lost more than 2,000 police officers since 2010 due to Government cuts, and we need to be given fair funding to make a difference.

"We hope the Government can see this and I call on MPs from across Greater Manchester in supporting my calls for Government to give us the resources we need to keep Greater Manchester safe at the budget later this month.

"I also want to assure residents across Bolton and Greater Manchester that the Mayor and I are here to represent all parts of Greater Manchester and we are working to ensure that everyone in Greater Manchester gets the fair deal we deserve from central Government."

In response to concerns raised, Mr Green said he was conducting a survey in his constituency to get a 'thorough understanding of the problem'.

He said: "A particular worry is that, with devolution and the role of the Police and Crime Commissioner being part of the Mayor of Manchester’s job, policing support may be being unfairly taken from our communities to other parts of Greater Manchester.

"As I gather the evidence I will take residents’ concerns to the authorities and challenge them to improve local policing. A safe and crime free community is vitally important for us all."

The issues in Blackrod came after similar claims from people in Westhoughton, Hulton and Astley Bridge.

Recent figures from the Office For National Statistics showed crime in Greater Manchester had risen by more than 30 per cent.

There were 294,581 crimes were reported in the Greater Manchester Police area in the year ending June 2017.

Stalking and harassment increased the most — 83 per cent.