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.
One of the ‘best things to do in the WORLD’ is in Manchester – and it doesn’t even exist yet
A Manchester attraction has been named as one of the best things to do in the world in 2023 – despite the fact that it hasn’t actually opened yet.
Time Out said: “Manchester is making a storm right now, with the UK city being crowned one of the world’s very best places to visit by Lonely Planet in 2022.
“It’s not showing any signs of slowing down this year, with the long-awaiting opening of Factory International, a £186 million arts venue which will be the new, permanent home of the biennial Manchester International Festival.
“The 2023 festival (June 29-July 16) will be filled with all sorts of big shows and experiences to get stuck into – including the largest-ever immersive Yayoi Kusama exhibition and a stage adaptation of The Matrix directed by Danny Boyle.”
The £186m new cultural space Factory International is already taking shape in the city, a looming grey structure that will be home to a massive programme of arts and culture.
The acclaimed Danny Boyle will direct the venue’s opening production, a performance inspired by The Matrix films.
5000 tickets for Free Your Mind, which will be presented across the flexible spaces in the building, will be sold for £10 or less, to give everyone in the community a chance to experience the huge site.
Factory International is set to open its doors in June 2023, programmed and operated by the team behind Manchester International Festival.
The enormous 13,350 sq metre space inside utilises supersized moveable walls, which can reconfigure the space for different performances.
Its artistic programming has already begun too, in the form of its first installation First Breath, which has been lighting up the skies with something that locals say looks like an ‘alien invasion’. You can read all about that here.
Featured image: OMA 10
Mason Greenwood attempted rape and assault charges dropped
All criminal charges against Manchester United footballer Mason Greenwood have been dropped today.
The 21-year-old faced allegations of attempted rape, controlling and coercive behaviour, and assault, all against the same female victim.
The investigation was first opened in January 2022 but has today been dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service, Greater Manchester Police has said.
Chief Superintendent Michaela Kerr, GMP’s Head of Public Protection, said: “Given the significant media coverage of this case, it is only fair that we share the news that the 21-year-old man, who had been arrested and charged in connection with an investigation opened in January 2022, no longer faces criminal proceedings in relation to this.
“The investigation team has remained in regular contact with the legal team, providing any updates of note, and so understand the rationale for the discontinuation of proceedings at this stage, and that this decision has not been taken lightly.
“Despite the media and public’s interest in this case, we have decided not to comment on it in any further detail.
“I would, however, like to use this opportunity to reiterate GMP’s commitment to investigating allegations of violence against women and girls and supporting those affected, regardless of their circumstances, throughout what can be a hard and upsetting time for them.
“An ever increasing number of officers are receiving specialist training and the force is more consistently utilising tools, available via the criminal justice system, to keep people safe and care for victims.
“If you feel you are or might be a victim, please don’t let this case put you off asking for help.”
GMP also outlined the support that is available:
If you or someone you know has been a victim of rape or sexual assault, we encourage you not to suffer in silence and report it to the police by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency.
You can also report information and crimes on our website (www.gmp.police.uk) using the ‘report’ tool.
Alternatively, you can report information anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
There are also lots of organisations and support agencies available across Greater Manchester that can help and provide support for you.
For more information on rape and serious sexual assault and the support services available to you, please visit our support pages.
Here are a few examples of the support centres who can help:
St. Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre – Manchester provides a comprehensive and co-ordinated response to men, women and children who live or have been sexually assaulted within Greater Manchester. They offer forensic medical examinations, practical and emotional support as well as a counselling service for all ages. Services are available on a 24-hour basis and can be accessed by calling 0161 276 6515.
Greater Manchester Rape Crisis – is a confidential information, support and counselling service run by women for women over 18 who have been raped or sexually abused at any time in their lives. Call on 0161 273 4500 or email [email protected]
Survivors Manchester – provides specialist trauma informed support to male victims in Greater Manchester who have experienced sexual abuse, rape, or sexual exploitation. Call 0161 236 2182.