The chief constable of Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has resigned after his force – the second biggest in England – was placed in special measures for failing to record 80,000 crimes.
GMP was put into an “advanced phase” of monitoring by inspectors who found that officers had failed to record an average 220 crimes a day in the year to June 2020, leading to Ian Hopkins announcing his decision “to stand down from the post of Chief Constable with immediate effect.”
Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester said improvements to the force were overdue and that it is time for a new era with new leadership.
Tory MP calls for Labour mayor to resign
However, there are calls for Burnham to follow Hopkins and resign given his role as mayor of Greater Manchester gives him “absolute responsibility for policing, its failures” said Bolton West MP Chris Green.
The Conservative MP said the Labour mayor should “resign now” because “his role ultimately is to ensure that GMP is delivering.”
Green added: “He is in a position if he doesn’t think GMP is performing and is delivering then he can challenge and if necessary he can sack the chief of police. That is Andy Burnham’s power over policing in Manchester. He has absolute authority.”
Priti Patel’s ‘deep’ concerns about GMP
When Burnham was asked why the chief constable resigned and not him, the mayor replied: “Because I do not run Greater Manchester Police. The police service is operationally independent from politicians and rightly so. My job is different. I have to hold the police to account for the services they provide to the Greater Manchester public, and I am here today doing my job holding the police service to account.”
Home secretary Priti Patel has expressed her “deep” concerns about the HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) investigation which found “serious cause of concern” in how victims of crime were treated by the force.
In a letter to Burnham and GMP, Patel called the force’s failure to safeguard vulnerable victims the “most troubling” aspect of the report while highlighting “wider issues relating to the quality of service that the people of Greater Manchester are receiving from their force”.
GMP whistleblower blasts Burnham
Former GMP detective Maggie Oliver said she and two ex-colleagues met with Burnham in 2018 to highlight “serious concerns” about victims being failed by the force but said they were “treated with contempt” by the mayor.
Burnham “basically slammed the door in our face,” said Oliver, who resigned after whistleblowing about police officers “deliberately ignoring” the sexual abuse of young girls in Rochdale.
Oliver described a “culture of arrogance and cover-ups” and said a “radical overhaul” is needed because “trust in the police had gone”. She set up the Maggie Oliver Foundation to help “survivors transform pain into power “ as well as “to expose and address injustice, misuse of power and corruption.”
Oliver said her charity is “drowning in cries for help” from people who “have nowhere else to turn”.
Hopkins on sick leave before resigning
Hopkins stepped down a day after GMP was put into special measures and in a statement released today (December 18) he said: “These are challenging times for Greater Manchester Police. The force has a long-term strategic plan to address the issues raised by the HMIC and I believe this plan should be led by a Chief Constable who can oversee it from start to finish.
“Considering what is best for GMP and the communities we serve, and given my current ill health, I have decided to stand down from the post of Chief Constable with immediate effect”
He called it “an honour to serve the public for 32 years, nearly 13 of which as a Chief Officer in GMP” and added that he “was due to retire in autumn 2021”.
Hopkins has been on sick leave since Sunday (December 13) and revealed earlier this week he has been suffering from an inner ear infection called labyrinthitis since the end of October.
“I continued to work throughout with the support of the rest of my chief officers team until Sunday 13 December, despite feeling very ill.
“I finally made the decision over last weekend that, in the interests of my health, I needed to take a break and recover properly so I can return and lead [the force] with the same passion and strength of character that I have always demonstrated.”
In his statement Hopkins had said he would remain in daily contact with senior Greater Manchester Police colleagues.
Labyrinthitis – everything is spinning
Labyrinthitis is also called vestibular neuritis and the most common symptoms include dizziness and vertigo with feelings that everything is spinning, being unsteady and unbalanced, hearing loss, tinnitus and nausea or being sick.
Sufferers may also find it difficult to walk in a straight line or stay upright. The symptoms can start suddenly but often ease after a few days.