Police chief welcomes GMP’s removal from ‘special measures’

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) is no longer in “special measures” after cracking down on neighbourhood crime and vastly increasing its call handling.

The force was given the shameful status in December 2020 after a damning report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services.

It was found the force failed to record 80,000 crimes and GMP’s service to victims of crime was a “serious cause of concern”.

After joining GMP from West Yorkshire Police – following the departure of his predecessor Ian Hopkins – Chief Constable Stephen Watson vowed in June 2021 to make improvements.

One year on there had been advances in all areas highlighted as “cause for concern”.

In June last year, 999 answering times were averaging one minute and 22 seconds and the average non-emergency times were six minutes and 44 seconds.

Now the 999 average speed is seven seconds, placing the force in the top 10 nationally.

Non-emergency calls are now answered at an average of one minute and four seconds, more than six times quicker than before.

Response times have also fallen to an average of 10 minutes and 19 seconds, which is down from a peak of 13 minutes and 35 seconds and below the national target of 15 minutes.

The force captures around 30,500 crimes per month on average and arrests are at a two year high with 4,872 of these made in September last year which is a 60 per cent rise year on year.

GMP has solved 1,475 burglaries in the last month, which is an annual rise of 88 per cent.

CC Watson said police had “stopped doing the basics well” and vowed not to be complacent going forward.

He said: “Our route into special measures has been thoroughly analysed and much discussed. 

“There are several reasons as to how we came to bear our recent travails, a failure of leadership principle amongst them. 

“As I have stated repeatedly however, the fundamental failing was simply that we stopped doing the basics well, we stopped being the police and we stopped doing many of the things that our public have every right to expect.

“I have however, from the very point of assuming command of the force last summer, been given ample evidence to assert that our recent difficulties do not bear a true reflection of the commitment, professionalism and courage that are so abundantly to be found amongst the officers and staff of GMP.

“These qualities have come very powerfully to the fore in working to deliver our plan with precision and vigour. 

“The coherence of the plan, the establishment of capable leadership at all levels and the development of effective ways to ensure that the whole Force pulls together, have all played a part. 

“Fundamentally however, our progress speaks to the determination, enthusiasm, and hard work of our staff.

“Nothing in these welcome developments implies any complacency on our part. 

“We fully recognise that much remains to improve still further. 

“It does however represent a tangible and substantial step on our journey toward that to which we all aspire to be the finest Force in our country.”

CC Watson previously highlighted the reopening of the Bolton custody suite as a key reason why crime had improved in the town.



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