Hundreds call helpline for crime victims unhappy with GMP – but it will soon close
Date published: 19 February 2021
Rochdale Police Station
Hundreds of people have called a helpline for crime victims unhappy with how Greater Manchester Police has handled their cases.
The crime support line was established by mayor Andy Burnham after the force failed to record 80,000 crimes in a year – including one in four violent crimes.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) said victims of crime in Greater Manchester were being ‘denied justice’ by the force.
There have been 240 calls to the helpline since it launched in December, when GMP was placed into special measures after a damning report by the police watchdog.
But the helpline will be closed down from today (Friday 19 February) due to a ‘very low number’ of new callers in recent weeks.
New callers will now be redirected to the existing victims service helpline in Greater Manchester for support to help them cope and recover, while victims of crime will still be able to make formal complaints by contacting GMP directly.
Baroness Beverley Hughes, deputy mayor of in the city-region, said: “The support line was launched in response to the concerning findings of the HMICFRS inspection, as part of a series of urgent actions to help restore public confidence and ensure that no victim of crime is left without the support they need.
“The support line has provided an additional and vital mechanism for victims of crime to seek reassurance that they are being taken seriously and to get the help they need to cope and recover.
“But due to the very low number of new callers in recent weeks, we have now made the decision to close the dedicated line and revert to our usual line mechanisms for victims to make contact.
The HMICFRS report raised concerns about GMP’s approach to domestic violence and child protection, as well as delayed or badly-planned investigations.
Former chief constable Ian Hopkins resigned days after the force was placed into special measures, a situation recently described as ‘appalling’ by home secretary Priti Patel.
Andy Burnham, who has also come under pressure for GMP’s failings, claimed his ability to hold GMP to account was impeded by problems within the force being ‘repeatedly underplayed’ or being ‘deliberately’ withheld at a senior level.
Earlier this month the mayor also suggested that GMP had failed to properly answer questions around its hugely troublesome computer system iOPS.
To contact the Greater Manchester victims’ services helpline, call 0161 200 1950 or visit gmvictims.org.uk.
The helpline is open 9am to 7pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 5pm on Saturdays.
To report a crime that has taken place in the last month, call 101 or report online at gmp.police.uk. If you are in immediate danger call 999.
If you are not satisfied with how a complaint was handled by GMP, you can request an independent review by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.
Niall Griffiths, Local Democracy Reporter
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