Update on Policing in Ramsbottom

On Monday 4 December, your local Councillors had a meeting with Police Inspector Russell Magnall, who is responsible for the Ramsbottom, Tottington and North Manor township, and local beat officers. The meeting followed concerns expressed by residents about crime in our town.

By way of background, the Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, is now responsible for Policing in our area including setting the Police and Crime Plan for GMP officers to follow.

He took over responsibility for policing and crime from Tony Lloyd, the Labour Police and Crime Commissioner, who was in office from December 2012 to May 2017.  Prior to that date, the Greater Manchester Police Authority was responsible.

Residents will recall that the Labour-run Greater Manchester Police Authority decided to close Ramsbottom Police Station back in July 2011 after consultation, as there were on average just 3 people visiting the Station each day and it was considered uneconomical to keep it open at significant cost.  The Police Station was empty for 5 years, having been sold at auction in 2016. Officers now work out of Bury Police Station and Ramsbottom Fire Station but tend to be mobile with the use of new IT and hand-held devices to save having to go into the Station to complete paperwork.

We asked about reported crime rates for Ramsbottom over the last few years – which record the following number of offences in our town by year:

2011 – 902

2012 – 879

2013 – 704

2014 – 647

2015 – 775

2016 – 880

The figures show that whilst recorded crime fell for 4 years (despite the Police Station closing), it has increased over the last two years back to 2011/12 levels.

The number of offences in Ramsbottom Ward runs at an average of 70 or so a month.  For the month of October 2017, the latest available, there were 46 offences.

GMP Officers reassured us that recorded crime continues to be at very low levels and that the bulk of the increase in recorded crime from 2014 onwards is predominantly due to a change in how crime is recorded by GMP.

In 2014 the National Crime Recording Standards were introduced and many incidents which had not previously been recorded as crimes, now had an automatic registration as a crime as soon as a report is made to 999. The changes have been made to try to bring Police recorded crime more in line with the Crime Survey of England and Wales.

GMP remind us that crime levels generally in Ramsbottom are very low compared to other areas around Bury and indeed, they tell us that Bury is the safest borough to live in Greater Manchester.   Radcliffe, for example, had approaching 4,000 crimes reported in 2016 – well over 4 times that of Ramsbottom.

GMP Officers are using more forms of technology (hand-held IT devices) and are much more mobile – being more innovative despite funding pressures.

Firstly burglary.  After last year’s issues the figures are lower this year. They had much success in that some 10 people were convicted for burglaries in the Ramsbottom area. Some of those individuals are now being released from prison and GMP are monitoring them as they are on licence. Last year it was apparent that most offenders were visiting from areas outside of Bury so we don’t have many local offenders where burglaries are concerned.

In addition, from the 1st April this year a decision was taken nationally that all shed and garage break ins would be recorded together along with dwelling burglaries under the category of ‘Residential Burglary’. Previously shed/garages were recorded as burglary other.

As far as Ramsbottom is concerned since 1st April two thirds of recorded Residential Burglaries were subsequently identified as sheds and garages and not houses.

GMP are fully aware that the issue of burglaries and property crime still features high on resident’s concerns – as seen on the ‘What’s on in Ramsbottom’ facebook page.

Regarding offenders identified for burglaries this year, again so far, none of them are local.

Secondly, we discussed violent crimes. Ramsbottom Town Centre and the presence of a night time economy explains some of the figures but the figures are still very low.  The numbers include domestic violence so it is not fair to point any fingers at the pubs.  GMP have been running a pub watch scheme which all the licensees are encouraged to attend. The purpose is to discuss incidents, remind the licensees of their responsibilities and possible measures they can adopt to reduce incidents. For the most part the licensees are receptive. There were 2 spikes for assault figures since April of this year. One occurred end of May bank Holiday week and the second was weekend of the Ramsbottom Music Festival. The Festival weekend featured a number of assaults involving children on children.

Thirdly, shoplifting. The GMP neighbourhood team covering Ramsbottom are looking at our most prolific offenders with regards to shoplifting as they recognise they are active in other criminal activity and creating demand. Recently they have started working more closely with some individuals trying to break their cycle of offending helping them with accommodation and employment and working with partner agencies.

Fourthly, we discussed some of the work that GMP have been doing in Ramsbottom to reduce demand at a local care home. The work is intended to reduce the number of incidents being reported as they were having a significant impact on Police resources which were then not available to deal with other issues across the borough.

GMP advised that they are focusing on incidents with the greatest threat, risk, harm and vulnerability.

Last year GMP dealt with over 33,000 reports of missing persons.  There were 60,000 domestic incidents which resulted in further referrals and investigations.  There are 2,000-2,500 incidents logged as crimes – from road collisions to missing persons or concerns for welfare – recorded each day.

GMP assure us that there is a plan to manage the demand. GMP’s priorities are investing in staff (welfare, training etc.); technology (use of mobile technology to enable officers to record crime while still out on patrol) and a new IT system; concentration on the areas where there is the greatest risk harm threat and vulnerability; working with partner agencies more closely to ensure better integrated working and the right organisation deals with the issues identified; and place-based working which means there is still a focus on community policing to solve the problems.

Some of this involves working with those who need the most help, as well as asking those who can look after themselves to take greater personal responsibility.

If you do have any concerns, then you can contribute to the Mayor of Greater Manchester’s policing and criminal justice plan by saying what you think their priorities should be.

The total Budget for this financial year (2017/18) under the control of Andy Burnham, Greater Manchester Mayor, for policing and crime is £760,948,000 (£760 million).

Of this, £499 million is spent on employees, £120 million on pensions, £31 million on premises, £56 million on supplies & services, £24 million on agency payments, £6 million on transport and £23 million on capital financing.

You can complete Andy Burnham’s short survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/PoliceSurveyGM

They don’t ask for your name, so all responses are confidential. The survey will close at midnight on 14 January 2018.

All the responses will be used to finalise the policing and crime plan for Greater Manchester, which will be published later in January 2018.

If you have any questions regarding Policing, then please contact us or email police.enquiries@greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk