Central government is ‘failing’ Trafford residents by not providing sufficient funds to pay for adequate policing, according to a local Labour politician.
Cllr Mike Freeman, Executive member for Public Safety, Governance and Reform, said the extra £41m pledged by the PM Boris Johnson, to pay for new officers and infrastructure, when stripped from the overall police budget, results in Greater Manchester Police (GMP) receiving yet another ‘flat cash settlement’.
The overall budget for GMP is £645m – up £50m on last year.
Cllr Freeman, who represents Sale Moor ward, said of the additional money that just £41m had been provided by government while the remaining £9m has been paid through the Mayor’s precept.
“Therefore, if you remove the extra cash to pay for new recruits and resources – what GMP has received is, yet again, another flat cash settlement,” said Cllr Freeman.
“In truth, the government is continuing to fail Trafford residents when it comes to its promises on law and order – and, in fact, the financial position of GMP remains precarious.”
Each year, council tax is set by the local authority of which a proportion pays for local services – and part of the bill, known as the precept, is assigned to the Mayor Andy Burnham to fund regional services.
This year in Greater Manchester the average household will pay an additional Mayoral precept of £24.
Of this, £10 has been ring-fenced for the police and the remaining £14 will fund additional fire and rescue services, the popular free travel initiative for 16-18 year olds – and the rough sleeping project A Bed Every Night.
More than 100 new firefighters will also be hired while planned cuts to the service including reducing the number of fire engines and firefighters on each engine have been postponed.
In addition, proposals are being drafted that may see some schools allocated full-time police officers.
Also, GMP is set to invest in Interactive Voice Response (IVR) equipment; essentially, it is an automated telephone system that will help meet the needs of callers more effectively.
And extra funds will also be set-aside to provide frontline staff with digital interview recording equipment – and mobile applications to ensure officers can spend more time with people.
Cllr Freeman says there are also plans to increase the number of Neighbourhood Beat Officers (NBOs) across all districts.
“And I will be working hard with Trafford Community Safety Partnership to secure as many as I can for the borough,” he added.
“Meanwhile, some will complain and grumble about the increase in precept and whether it represents value for money or not – and there are those who view it as an unnecessary tax burden.
“However, protests about the lack of police resources and an overstretched fire service are futile if you support a government that, for more than a decade, has blighted our emergency services by slashing millions from their budgets.”
“The Tories austerity policies are, I’m afraid, very much alive and kicking,” he said.