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The force says...

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) provides policing for 5% of the UK population (2.7m residents) in an area which covers 10 local authorities, over 500 square miles, each of which have a distinct identity and unique policing challenges. Over 16% of residents are ethnic minorities and 200 languages are spoken. In addition there are over 100,000 students, a thriving night-time economy and 5m people live within one hour commuting distance. However, a number of districts are among the most deprived in the country.

GMP deals with more priority incidents, relative to population, than any other force. Each year GMP deals with 325,000 crimes and anti-social behaviour incidents, over 62,000 domestic abuse incidents, over 14,000 child abuse investigations and monitors over 2,800 sex offenders. GMP is tackling over 190 organised groups and plays a large role in counter-terrorism.

Recorded crime has risen, much due to improved crime recording and work to improve confidence in reporting crime to the police. Burglary and robbery have shown relatively little increase while violence has risen more significantly. GMP prioritises how it responds to crimes according to the harm they pose to victims and communities, and has increased its efforts to prevent crime.

GMP works closely with other agencies in co-located teams and with communities to solve local problems and tackle complex drivers of crime, safeguard people and tackle organised crime. GMP is actively supporting public service reform in Greater Manchester to improve services for citizens.

In 2010 there was one police officer per 334 residents, but this has reduced to 1:410. By the end of the current financial year (2015/16) GMP will have saved £156m over 5 years and workforce numbers will have reduced by 2,600 (20%) including 1,900 police officers (24%).

Disclaimer: the above statement has been prepared by Greater Manchester Police. The views and information in it are not necessarily those of HMICFRS.

HMIC says...

Greater Manchester Police provides policing services to the metropolitan area of Greater Manchester. The police force area covers 493 square miles in the north west of England. Although there are areas of great affluence, Greater Manchester has a high level of poverty. Around 2.7 million people live in an urban setting. This major conurbation includes Manchester and Salford, as well as the large surrounding towns. The residential population is ethnically diverse, with 16 percent from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, and is increased by very large numbers of university students and the large numbers who visit, socialise in, commute into, or travel through the region. The transport infrastructure includes major rail stations and a major airport.

England and Wales is made up of over 181,000 small areas known as census output areas (OAs). These have been defined by the Office for National Statistics to group together people with similar characteristics and to include, on average, 125 households. The size of the geographical area covered by each OA varies according to the population density in different parts of the country. The largest OA in England and Wales covers 20,166 hectares, and the smallest less than 0.02 hectares. A football pitch is approximately 0.75 of a hectare.

There are 8,684 OAs in Greater Manchester with an average size of 15 hectares which is much smaller than the national average of 87 hectares. While the vast majority (75 percent) of OAs in Greater Manchester are relatively small at under 10 hectares, a very smaller proportion (2 percent) are extremely large in size (over 100 hectares) indicating the urban conurbation with few sparsely populated rural areas.

The advantage of analysis at output area level is that it supports a people-centred approach. Differences in the socio-economic characteristics of people who live in different OAs lead to different behaviours, including the use of public services. These differences are reflected in the information that is collected in large data sets such as the census, the Ordnance Survey (OS) point of interest data and other quasi-economic sources that have been used in this analysis.

HMIC has been working with the London School of Economics to use econometric techniques to statistically model and predict the level of reactive demands for police services in each OA in England and Wales. Using police incident data and several thousand characteristics (variables) drawn from the census data, OS point of interest data and other smaller data sets for each OA, it has been possible to predict the number of incidents for each OA and determine how challenging each OA is likely to be to police. We have also used the house prices from the Land Registry as a proxy indicator of wealth. Greater Manchester has a median house price of £131,260 which is lower than the median of England and Wales (£254,549). Excluding the least expensive ten percent and the most expensive ten percent of house prices, there is a 98 percent difference between low and high prices within the force area, suggesting that there are both areas of affluence and poverty.

The predicted number of incidents for each OA varies considerably. In Greater Manchester, one percent of the OAs accounts for 15 percent of the predicted demands for police services – this is 3.1 percent of the total force area.

A concentration of predicted demands in a small number of OAs is a feature of every police force. We have designated these OAs (approximately 1,800 throughout England and Wales) as a very high challenge to police. These areas of very high challenge are characterised by social deprivation or a concentration of commercial premises (including licensed premises), and in some cases both.

Within Greater Manchester:

  • the proportion of OAs that are a very high challenge to police based on the predicted level of crime is higher than the national level of one percent;
  • the proportion of OAs that are a very high challenge to police based on the predicted level of anti-social behaviour is higher than the national level of one percent; and
  • the proportion of OAs that are very high challenge to police for the predicted level of emergency and priority calls for assistance is higher than the national level of one percent.

As an indication of the challenge for the police to reach citizens in all parts of Greater Manchester we calculated the average travel time and distance from the central point of the force area to the centre of each of the 8,684 OAs. These calculations of distance and time are based on using the road network under normal driving conditions and speeds, and indicate the size of the area and the quality of its road network.

Greater Manchester has 182 miles of motorways and trunk roads; the average travel distance of 10 miles (longest 30 miles and shortest 0.2 miles) and the average travel time of 22 minutes are lower than the respective national averages of 17 miles and 30 minutes. This demonstrates the size and complexity of Greater Manchester and its roads.

While the concentration of demands in a small number of locations (covering a very small area) may be helpful in focusing resources, it is not the totality of demand. The provision of services extends beyond those areas that are a very high challenge to police and includes the least challenging and most remote areas. The challenge of providing services throughout Greater Manchester is a function of many things including the size and topography of the area, the road network and how congested the roads are. These considerations influence how police resources are organised and managed – for example, where police officers are based and their working patterns.