by Matt Gallagher on September 14, 2012
I am pleased to announce that tonight I have been selected as the Liberal Democrat candidate for the position of Police and Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchester.
I have appointed Jackie Pearcey to be my nominee for Deputy Police Commissioner. Jackie has considerable experience in fighting for better community relations, and has spent over 10 years as a member of the Gorton and Levenshulme Police Community Liaison Panel. She brings a wealth of experience in community involvement to the ticket, and I am delighted that she has accepted my nomination.
The Police and Crime Commissioner election will be an opportunity for the people of Greater Manchester to select a team with extensive experience of policing from both the police and public’s perspective, and reject career politicians with no prior police experience who have suddenly discovered an interest in the subject.
The Liberal Democrat’s believe that Greater Manchester Police can be more efficient, effective and responsive than they currently are, and they reject suggestions that crime will increase unless Greater Manchester’s Council Taxpayers dig deeper into their pockets. Crime is falling, the police are a key player in that achievement, but they are not the only factor in reducing criminality across Greater Manchester.
At a time when people are struggling to deal with rising fuel and food costs, and when wages are stagnant, it is wrong to increase the fear of crime by suggesting that it will rise unless the people stump up more money. The number of police officers being cut by GMP is less than the number who every day spend time sitting in court waiting rooms for cases that don’t proceed, or sit in offices writing files that may never be required, or in classrooms learning lessons that could be delivered before they actually join as constables, or are on sick leave doing nothing when they could be engaged on light duties while they recuperate.
The Liberal Democrats believe that a properly accredited Police Apprenticeship scheme, partly funded through the Liberal Democrat’s Youth Contract, can provide training to potential recruits BEFORE they are sworn in as officers. This means that they can go straight onto patrol and response duties instead of spending much of their first two years in the classroom or on training attachments. This one innovation alone can significantly increase the number of visible officers on the beat without further recruitment.
Liberal Democrats also believe that a review of Greater Manchester Police’s Graded Response policy could, in time, reduce demand for front line officers, another key saving. Improving the response to certain types of crime and anti-social behaviour can empower Greater Manchester citizens. We need the words “I’m calling the police!” to have real meaning again. If citizens can be assured that they will receive a quick response from the police if they need it, eventually the mere threat of making the call may be enough to stop potential offenders in their tracks.
The Liberal Democrats are committed to working with the police, and many other agencies and groups across Greater Manchester, to reduce crime and the fear of crime. Our manifesto will outline, in more detail, a series of proposals to achieve better performance across the board, while ensuring that the very best elements of our policing system are preserved and improved further. We will oppose privatisation of any aspect of policing that threatens the covenant between the police and the public – policing with the consent of the policed.