MANCHESTER: About 60% of crimes reported to one of the UK’s largest police forces are not fully investigated because of a lack of resources, its chief constable said. Greater Manchester Police’s Ian Hopkins said budget cuts meant officers had to prioritise more ruthlessly than ever. He said about 600 offences a day, such as thefts from vehicles, were being “screened out” and not pursued because “we don’t have enough officers”.
The Home Office said it was “committed” to ensuring forces have enough funding. The number of frontline police officers across England and Wales has fallen over the past decade, while violent crime is rising.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said it had lost about 2,000 officers during that time, down to about 6,200. “If your life is in danger, you’ve been seriously hurt, we will still turn up,” Mr Hopkins told BBC Radio Manchester. “If there’s an immediate threat we will be there and we will be there in numbers.
“If your shed’s been broken into, your bike’s stolen, your vehicle’s broken into and there’s no witnesses, there’s no CCTV and there’s no opportunity for forensics, we’ll be screening that out really quickly.Your likelihood of a police officer turning up to deal with that is almost non-existent and that’s where the public have really started to feel it. That bit worries me.”
One of Mr Hopkins’ senior officers, Supt Rick Jackson, said screening out crimes was “a necessary evil”.
GMP is not the only force to screen reported crimes on the basis of threat and the likely evidence available. But Mr Hopkins publicly acknowledging the fact that the majority of crimes reported to his force are dropped is thought to be the first time a chief constable has put a figure on this practice.
The fall in police numbers is largely the result of changes in central government funding, which is down by almost a third in real terms since 2010. Mr Hopkins said it accounted for about 80% of his budget.”We’ve been promised a funding formula review and that hasn’t materialised but that needs to happen,” he said.