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Statements from the Mayor and Deputy Mayor on the future of Greater Manchester Police

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham and Bev Hughes, Greater Manchester’s Deputy Mayor for Policing, Crime and Criminal Justice, have spoken on the future of Greater Manchester Police and Chief Constable Ian Hopkins.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: "Last Thursday, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) published a report into Greater Manchester Police's recording of crime and services to victims.

"For a number of years Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has been found by the Inspectorate to be in need of improvements in these important areas. This latest report, carried out in September and based on force data between April and June this year, revealed an unacceptable lack progress. The Deputy Mayor and I immediately accepted the report in full, apologised to victims who have been let down, and initiated a series of actions which we discussed with HMICFRS to restore public confidence. To this end, on Wednesday we announced plans which the Deputy Mayor will update you on in a moment.

"I know the Prime Minister has been in Greater Manchester today and I am grateful to him for his offer to work with me on this. I can assure him that work has been under way all week, and I can announce a further step today. I have agreed with the Chief Constable Ian Hopkins that he will stand down with immediate effect from his duties as Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police.

"Before I turn to the reasons why, it important that it is first recognised that Ian has led GMP through one of the most difficult periods in its history. Since 2010, the force has had to contend with budget reductions of over £200m and the loss of over 2,000 police officers, while simultaneously dealing with new and complex threats. The attack on the Manchester Arena was the greatest of those, and without doubt our darkest hour. But Ian's exceptional leadership through the difficult days and months that followed was a personal support to me and hugely reassuring for our communities. Subsequently, he brought one of the biggest and most challenging investigations in the force's history to a successful conviction, whilst personally ensuring that the families of the victims received proper care and support at all times.

"In other important areas however, the organisation has not made the progress needed.

"It is an important principle of policing in this country that it is operationally separate from political interference. I do not run Greater Manchester Police on a day-to-day basis - instead, it is my job to hold the Chief Constable to account, and by extension the force, for the service provided to our residents. At times this essential task has been made too difficult by an overly defensive culture within GMP. This needs to change if GMP is to develop the open learning culture that will allow the failings identified by the Inspectorate to be properly addressed.

"Improvements are now overdue. So while I and the Deputy Mayor, while paying tribute today to Ian's 12 years of service to Greater Manchester Police, have concluded that now is the time for new leadership and a new era in our police force.

"As an interim measure, I have asked Deputy Chief Constable Ian Pilling to lead GMP and to assume the operational duties of the Chief Constable. I am grateful to Ian for stepping up and for the work he has already set in train to respond to the HMICFRS report. We will commence a full recruitment process for Ian Hopkins' successor early in the New Year, so we can begin that new era for Greater Manchester Police.

"In the New Year, I will also bring forward strengthened arrangements for oversight and governance of Greater Manchester Police.

"Finally, to the officers and staff of GMP - I know how hard you have all work this year. We appreciate it so much. I will work with you, together with the Deputy Mayor, in the New Year to get things fully back on track.

"To the residents of Greater Manchester, the Deputy Mayor and I have acted quickly on the evidence we had, and the steps we are taking will enable you to have full confidence in your police force."

Bev Hughes, Greater Manchester Deputy Mayor for Policing, Crime and Criminal Justice, added: "On publication of the HMICFRS report last week we announced immediate steps that the Mayor and I had taken, with the Deputy Chief Constable, to address the improvements necessary to the crime recording systems and the investigation of crimes. Since then we have taken further actions to accelerate this process of change.

"Earlier this week we spoke to HMICFRS to discuss what continuing support they could offer to GMP through this process. The intervention they have now announced will enhance the capacity of GMP to move much more quickly and ensure that they can draw on all available advice and expertise.

"I’ve also spoken to the policing minister, Kit Malthouse, who has also offered support.

"We’ve also drawn up plans and agreed the resources for the acceleration of the new Central Crime Recording and Resolution Unit. Although additional recruitment has already started, and the Unit is showing really dramatic improvements in crime recording. It’s intended that progressively all incidents across Greater Manchester will be decided within this Unit.

"The Deputy Chief Constable has also established a Gold command group to drive the implementation of the changes, and embedded within that group will be a member of our Police and Crime team, and a member of the Combined Authority’s internal audit team, to support that activity.

"These measures already under way are a firm platform for the further work we need to undertake, and I hope reassure the public and our partner organisations that we’re determined to achieve the change we need to see.

"I’d also like to add to the Mayor’s comments my thanks to the Chief Constable for the years of service to policing in general, to Greater Manchester Police, and to the people of Greater Manchester. I know him to be a man of principle, a man of great commitment - passionate commitment indeed - to public service.

"During his tenure here he’s been instrumental in helping us to bring justice to victims of child sexual exploitation, with the publication of the Augusta Report and the continuing investigations through Operation Greenjacket.

"At national level he has pioneered approaches to improving the diversity of police services and made a significant impact on the Black, minority ethnic and female representation in Greater Manchester Police, and I wish him well for the future.

"I also want today to speak directly to all the officers, community support officers, and police staff within Greater Manchester Police. I know what outstanding work you do, day after day, the unstinting effort you’ve made to protect the public, and just what it has taken - in recent months particularly - to meet all the demands we make on you. I want to recognise your commitment, the ground-breaking work you’ve pioneered in some areas of activity, and to thank you on behalf of the Mayor and me, and the people of Greater Manchester."

Article Published: 18/12/2020 17:25 PM