Who says GM Police have failed the public?
GM Police have made news because HM Inspector of Police has issued a report listing many failings. The police in Greater Manchester have failed to record a lot of crimes and have failed to investigate others. They have failed to help many victims of crime. If you think about these criticisms together, you might ask what the constabulary does do. You might not be surprised to learn that the government has put the constabulary into special measures.
Who is to blame for the failings of GM Police?
Naturally, many people are asking this question. There have been too many failings to blame individual officers. Systems and supervision must have failed too. Where does the buck stop? All too often, whenever there is criticism of any organisation, people at the top pass the buck down to the lowest level possible. I hope that does not happen this time. On the other hand, people at the very top might not know every detail of an organisation’s procedures or the monitoring systems.
Is the problem in GM Police political?
At least one MP has called for the resignation of the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, who has overall responsibility for policing, among many other things. He abolished the role of Police and Crime Commissioner when he became mayor, thus taking over those responsibilities. He probably regrets that decision. Andy is popular for speaking up for the region, especially since his highly publicised conflicts with the government over the Covid restrictions. You might wonder if there are political motives for attacking him. Of course, the motives of his critics do not necessarily invalidate the criticisms.
How can this be resolved?
I do not want a political solution, or one that looks political, as I believe the policing of one of our major city-regions is too important. People need to have confidence in the police. Therefore we need a public enquiry, soon. Let independent people look into this in detail and apportion blame fairly. As a writer of crime novels, I have written before about shortcomings in the police, genuine and fictitious. In DOWN there is injustice due to incompetence and … well, read it yourself. However, if I had invented a story about failings on this scale, I would have expected the police to respond angrily. They would have said I was being grossly unfair. Now I want a solution that is utterly fair – to the police and to the people of Greater Manchester.