Update Report on Issues of Interest
- Meeting of Communities and Equalities Scrutiny Committee, Thursday, 18th July, 2019 2.00 pm (Item 25.)
Report of the Deputy Mayor for Police, Crime, Criminal Justice and Fire
This report provides an update on a range of issues relating to policing in Manchester.
The Committee received a report of the Deputy Mayor for Police, Crime, Criminal Justice and Fire from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) which provided an update on a range of issues relating to policing in Manchester.
The main points and themes within the report included:
- Chief Superintendent and Superintendent promotions and postings;
- How elected members could influence policing priorities in neighbourhoods and precept priorities;
- The performance of the 101 non-emergency number; and
- Road safety plans and priorities.
Deputy Leader Councillor N Murphy drew Members’ attention to the personnel changes at a senior level in GMP. He thanked the outgoing officers for their work over recent years and stated that he looked forward to working with the new team.
Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were:
- Request for further detail on how the police precept was being spent, particularly at a Manchester level;
- Concerns of local residents regarding police response to incidents and to calls to the 101 non-emergency number and that some local residents were losing confidence in the police;
- That neighbourhood policing teams in some areas were very effective at communicating with Members and community groups but that this is not consistent across all areas;
- What was being done to address issues in the city centre, such as drug-dealing and anti-social behaviour in Piccadilly Gardens, which negatively affected both local people and visitors’ impressions of Manchester;
- What was being done to improve traffic policing; and
- Request for more information on the work to tackle knife crime, following the allocation of additional funding from central government to address this.
Chief Superintendent Umer Khan informed Members that the precept had funded 50 additional police officers across Greater Manchester, 14 of whom had been allocated to Manchester. He advised that these had been split between the three police districts in Manchester and that the officers would be undertaking problem-solving and targeted work as part of the neighbourhood teams. He informed Members that, while the rest of the precept funding was being used at a Greater Manchester level, it was funding work such as TravelSafe and improvements to the 101 non-emergency number which would also benefit Manchester.
Chief Superintendent Khan outlined the work taking place at a neighbourhood level, including specific examples of work in a Member’s ward to address local people’s concerns. He recognised that there were challenges and commented that he would like to do more but advised Members that he and his colleagues at GMP was doing their best with the resources they had. He invited Members to join him on a tour of duty to see the work that police officers were doing and the challenges they were facing. He reported that he was working with partners to introduce a consistent model of delivery across all neighbourhoods. He outlined how he was promoting the importance of communication, including with Ward Councillors, across the neighbourhood policing teams and informed Members that he would welcome feedback.
The Deputy Leader Councillor N Murphy reported that, while he would like to see more police officers, GMP was having to work with limited resources. He also advised Members that, in addition to visible neighbourhood policing, GMP was doing a lot of less visible work on issues which as Child Sexual Exploitation and organised crime. He reported that steps were been taken to improve the 101 non-emergency number, citing the introduction of live chats to enable members of the public to communicate with GMP through their website. He advised Members that it was also important to review the type of calls which were being received through the 101 number, including whether some of them were non-police-related calls, and stated that a public awareness campaign was needed on when to contact the police and what issues to contact other agencies about.
Chief Superintendent Khan informed Members that he had attended a meeting of the City Centre Accountability Board the previous day which had provided an in-depth update on the partnership response to crime and anti-social behaviour in the city centre. He reported that, while he recognised the challenges in the city centre, there had been some progress in recent times, including a reduction in robberies in Piccadilly Gardens as well as reductions in some other types of crime. He outlined police operations which had taken place to tackle crime in the city centre and reported that a partnership approach to addressing other issues such as homelessness and begging had also contributed to improvements. He suggested that the Member who had raised this issue could be provided with the minutes of this meeting as an update of the work taking place in the city centre and invited her to speak to GMP’s city centre team to give her a fuller update on the issues she had raised.
Chief Superintendent Khan reported that, due to reductions in police funding from central government, local traffic policing had been centralised into one force-wide resource, which was then allocated based on an assessment of threat, risk and harm; however, he reported that GMP was also investing in community initiatives, working with local residents on a range of preventative work.
The Community Safety Lead informed Members about work to develop an approach on how to use the recently allocated funds to address knife crime. She reported that an engagement session would be taking place on 7 August 2019 and that youth service providers and partner organisations were invited to get involved in this work.
1. To express the Committee’s thanks for the work of GMP officers, recognising the challenges that they face in performing their role.
2. To request clarification on whether any of the precept was being used to address the deficit in police pensions.