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Police (Bolton)

Volume 522: debated on Monday 24 January 2011

16. What estimate she has made of the number of police officers in Bolton (a) on the latest date for which figures are available and (b) at the end of 2014-15. (35106)

Bolton Metropolitan borough division had 527 police officers on 31 March 2010. It is not possible to forecast the position in 2014-15. It is a matter for the chief constable and the police authority to determine the number of police officers and other staff that are deployed to Bolton.

Well, the Minister might be in denial about the numbers in 2014, but the rest of us know that under this Government there will be fewer police officers in Bolton in that year than there are now. After all those years in opposition making a case for having more bobbies on the beat, how can this Government retain any credibility without admitting that fewer police officers will mean more crime?

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will pay more attention to what the chief constable of the Greater Midlands—[Hon. Members: “Greater Manchester”]—police is saying. I am sorry, I mean the chief constable of the Greater Manchester police. He told The Bolton News that cuts would not affect the front line and went on to say that there was “no reason” why crime should go up. He pointed out to the Home Affairs Committee that some of the force’s headquarters operations had got too big and that some police officer numbers had been kept artificially high. He said that they had lots of police officers doing administrative posts just to hit that number.