Police reforms and PwC report publication ‘eagerly awaited’

The Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Oldham Council, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, is ‘eagerly awaiting’ Friday 10 September, for this is the day that Greater Manchester’s new Police chief reveals his plan to reshape policing across the city region and the Mayor of Greater Manchester finally publishes a secret report into police failings.

Councillor Sykes has previously written to Mayor Andy Burnham demanding a report prepared in the spring at public expense by accountants Price Waterhouse Coopers be published. His requests have met with obfuscation and outright refusal as Mayor Burnham kept the report under wraps during his re-election campaign and whilst a new Chief Constable was being appointed.

The report allegedly exposes grave police failings; failings that Councillor Sykes has also repeatedly raised in correspondence with the Greater Manchester Mayor, who is also Police and Crime Commissioner for the city region.

Councillor Sykes said: “Frankly, the conduct of the Police and Crime Commissioner and certain members of the senior management team at GMP has in recent months been more akin to the Keystone Cops than a professional police service.

Howard Sykes at the former Crompton Baths site

“When your Police officers fail to record over 80,000 reported crimes in a year; when you introduce a new computer system (iOPs) at massive public expense that fails so lamentably that offenders are let off from court scott-free and Police officers have to go back to taking notes with pen and paper; and when your Chief Constable leaves under a cloud, and your force is placed in special measures, then you know you have got things seriously wrong.”

On Friday 10 September, a meeting of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority will consider the Greater Manchester Police Implementation Plan, presented by newly appointed Chief Constable Stephen Watson. Mayor Andy Burnham also promised in a tweet in August that he would release the PwC report on that date.

Councillor Sykes laid down a challenge: “Mayor Burnham has got things seriously wrong. He needs to come clean and admit that, and both he and the new Chief Constable Stephen Watson, must clearly set out how they intend to make things seriously right, and soon, at Greater Manchester Police. The time for this is now. Public and front-line police officer confidence in the leadership team is now at an all-time low.”

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