Events in recent weeks have highlighted the immediate need to rethink how we address rises in violent crime across the UK, and the threat of violent extremism. At a meeting of Oldham Council on Wednesday 20th March, the Labour leadership reaffirmed its commitment to working closely with all of our communities, and challenged Government to take a long term view that recognises the causes of violence rather than looking for sticking plaster solutions.
The council heard from Cllr Ateeque Ur-Rehman, Cabinet Member for Policing and Community Safety, about the rise in violent crime in the borough that has coincided with an austerity regime that has crippled the economy and the police.
Councillors also received an update on welfare reform in the borough, highlighting the ongoing hardship for residents created since Oldham became an early adopter of Universal Credit.
Cllr Ur-Rehman said: “There is no place in our society for the kind of violence we’ve seen in recent weeks in Greater Manchester and elsewhere. We are determined to work in and with communities to build understanding of the causes of, and solutions to, violent crime.
“The police have a vital role to pay, and we are calling on the government to fund them without placing even greater burden on already stretched local people. But its no coincidence that violence has risen around the country while budgets for youth services have been all but eliminated, along with the benefits so many families rely on.”
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The Mayoral Police and Crime Commissioner Precept is to be increased by 13.77% this year (a £24 rise to £198.30 on Band D properties). This will raise an additional £18 million for Greater Manchester Police.
Government has cut the grant to Greater Manchester Police by £215m since 2010, which has seen the loss of 2,000 police officers and 1,000 non-police staff.
This year, the police grant included an additional £15m for Greater Manchester Police. However, whilst Ministers badged this as an investment in local policing, this money will merely cover the police pension shortfall – an additional financial burden caused by the Treasury moving the goalposts on how it calculates pension contributions.
Deputy Mayor Beverly Hughes has pledged to use the precept to do the following:
- Recruit at least 320 additional police officers.
- Continue to improve the 101 service.
- Increase the grants to local authorities to fund community safety initiatives.
- Tackle both serious and violent crime and violence against women and girls.
We are determined to work in and with communities to build understanding of the causes of, and solutions to, violent crime Cllr Ateeque Ur-Rehman, Cabinet Member for Policing and Communities