Sudden hotline closure ‘an unexpected blow to GM crime victims failed by Mayor

Councillor Howard Sykes MBE is dismayed that a hotline established to respond to the failure to record complaints from the 80,000 victims of crime across Greater Manchester is close on Friday 19 February.

Councillor Sykes had just recently written to the Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham to seek reassurance that such victims would continue to receive specialist support from Victims Support staff for the foreseeable future.

The Greater Manchester Crime Support Line was only launched back in December after a damning report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services found systematic failures at Greater Manchester Police which led to the force failing to record 80,000 reported crimes – including one in four violent crimes and many instances of domestic violence.

The report led to Greater Manchester Police being placed in special measures and the Chief Constable leaving office early. The hotline was set up in response to the report to provide a mechanism for victims who had been ‘denied justice’ to seek redress. Now just two months later it will be scrapped.

Councillor Sykes wrote to Mayor Andy Burnham about the hotline in January. The closure decision is so unexpected as in a recent reply to correspondence from Councillor Sykes, dated 5 February, Mayor Burnham assured him that “At this time no decision has been made as to how long the Crime Support Line will be operational for.”

Commenting Councillor Sykes said: “This sudden decision represents an unexpected blow to Greater Manchester crime victims failed by police. Operating a bespoke line for just two months and then closing it just smacks of ‘tokenism’, of ‘ticking a box’ to get Greater Manchester Police out of special measures, rather than a sincere effort to support the many thousands of victims of crime that have been failed by the senior leadership of the local Police service.”

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