A dedicated helpline offering support to victims concerned about how their crime has been dealt with by Greater Manchester Police is to close today.
The Greater Manchester Crime Support Line was launched in December 2020 by Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, following the publishing of an assessment report which found that the force failed to record 80,000 crimes in a year – including one in four violent crimes.
It was set up to provide support to victims of crime who may have concerns about how their crime has been previously recorded by GMP, or who were not referred to victim support services.
But it will be closed from today due to a “very low number” of new callers in recent weeks.
Since its launch, there have been 240 calls to the helpline – which is being delivered by Victim Support on behalf of Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) – but as of today, callers will now be diverted to the existing Greater Manchester Victims’ Services support line.
Any new callers will be diverted automatically for support to help them cope and recover, and victims of crime can still make a formal complaint or raise any concerns or issues about how their crime was dealt with by contacting Greater Manchester Police directly.
Speaking on the closing of the line and future conduct, Bev Hughes – Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Fire – said: “The Greater Manchester Crime Support Line was launched in response to the concerning findings of the HMICFRS inspection.
“[It was launched] as part of a series of urgent actions to help restore public confidence and ensure that no victim of crime is left without the support they need.
“The support line has provided an additional and vital mechanism for victims of crime to seek reassurance that they are being taken seriously and to get the help they need to cope and recover. But due to the very low number of new callers in recent weeks, we have now made the decision to close the dedicated line and revert to our usual line mechanisms for victims to make contact.”
The Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) report into the conduct of Greater Manchester Police published at the end of last year raised concerns about the forces approach to domestic violence and child protection, as well as delayed or badly-planned investigations.
Andy Burnham – who has also come under pressure for GMP’s failings – claimed his ability to hold the force to account was impeded by problems within the force being “repeatedly underplayed” or being “deliberately” withheld at a senior level.
To contact the Greater Manchester Victims’ Services helpline, you can call 0161 200 1950 or visit gmvictims.org.uk.
The helpline is open 9am to 7pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 5pm on Saturdays.
If you want to report a crime that has taken place within the last month, you should contact police directly by calling 101 or report online, and if you, or someone else is in immediate danger, always dial 999.
If you are not satisfied with how a complaint was handled by Greater Manchester Police, you may still be able to request an independent review by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) via the GMCA website.
You can also find help, advice, and local support services here.
Police search for Moors murder victim Keith Bennett resumes as ‘skull is found’
Police are back searching for Moors Murder victim Keith Bennett after a skull was reportedly found.
12-year-old Keith was snatched by notorious serial killers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley in 1964.
The pair’s victims were five children, Pauline Reade, John Kilbride, Keith Bennett, Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans, all aged between 10 and 17 years old at the time of their murder.
The victims were buried on Saddleworth Moor, but Keith’s remains have never been found.
Now a major breakthrough may have come from an author, Russell Edwards, who alerted police to ‘potential human remains in a remote location’.
Specialist GMP officers have now begun initial exploration activity but say it is ‘far too early’ to confirm if human remains have been discovered.
Officers have also updated Keith’s brother Alan Bennett, who was just eight years old when his sibling vanished and who has dedicated much of his life to solving the mystery of the missing body.
MP Force Review Officer Martin Bottomley said: “At around 11.25am on Thursday 29 September 2022, Greater Manchester Police was contacted by the representative of an author who has been researching the murder of Keith Bennett, a victim of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley.
“Following direct contact with the author, we were informed that he had discovered what he believes are potential human remains in a remote location on the Moors and he agreed to meet with officers yesterday afternoon to elaborate on his find and direct us to a site of interest.
“The site was assessed late last night and, this morning, specialist officers have begun initial exploration activity. We are in the very early stages of assessing the information which has been brought to our attention but have made the decision to act on it in line with a normal response to a report of this kind.
“It is far too early to be certain whether human remains have been discovered and this is expected to take some time.
“We have always said that GMP would act on any significant information which may lead to the recovery of Keith and reunite him with his family. As such, we have informed his brother of the potential development – he does not wish to be contacted at this time and asks that his privacy is respected.”
A further GMP statement published by the Manchester Evening Newsadded: “We have always said that GMP would act on any significant information which may lead to the recovery of Keith and reunite him with his family.
“Officers met with Mr Edwards yesterday evening (29th September) and he was able to locate a site of interest and provide us with further details of the work he has been carrying out.
“We are at the very early stages of assessing the evidence which he brought to our attention, but have taken the decision to excavate an area of land with a view to determining what lies there.
“It is far too early to be certain whether human remains have been uncovered, but out of respect for Alan Bennett, who we regularly maintain contact with, we have informed him of this potential development.
“Alan does not wish to be disturbed at this time and we would ask that his request for privacy is respected.”
Featured image: GMP
Question Time audience stunned as first-time buyer says mortgage quote DOUBLED
Thursday night’s Question Time audience could be heard audibly gasping after a fellow crowd member revealed that her mortgage quote had doubled followed the recent mini-budget.
Taping in Manchester on 29 September, the current events and politics programme was discussing property when would-be first-time buyer Rabia revealed that her mortgage offer had jumped from an initial amount of 4.5% interest to a shocking 10.5% in just a matter of days.
As you can see in the incredible clip, both the audience and the panel are taken aback at the revelation.
The Greater Manchester resident said she is desperate to know what the government’s plan for mortgages is as following the latest revision, she says she simply cannot afford to put the money down on her first home.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer weighed in on the social media reaction, quote tweeting the clip from his party’s own account and stating that “the Tories must get back to Parliament and reverse their kamikaze budget” as the current economic mess is being “paid for by working people”.
To make matters worse, Rabia was given no clarification from her lenders, only that they were pulling her offers. Conservative MP and Minister for Local Government, Faith and Communities, Paul Scully had little information to offer her either, simply stating it is a short-term effect and that the market will stabilise.
Scully was subject to an entirely different reaction from the audience as well after his blind attempts to defend Prime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng were met with laughter. Conversely, Richard Bacon was met with applause after he labelled the mini-budget “absurd”.
As if the anti-Tory sentiment wasn’t already at a high, the chancellor’s mini-budget – which saw the corporations, bankers and the generally wealthy benefit ahead of the working class – has seen fresh calls for a general election to be held as soon as possible.
Beyond declaring a so-called £2,500 limit on energy bills (which many have warned isn’t a guaranteed cap), there was seemingly very little in the way of policy that
For those still unclear as to what was announced in the divisive mini-budget, here is a quick summary:
Speaking in a speech at the Labour conference in Liverpool on Tuesday, Starmer said that the government “haven’t just failed to fix the roof, they’ve ripped out the foundations, smashed the windows and now they’ve blown the doors off for good measure.