I’ve always believed in the importance of excellent community policing. Back when I first became an MP in 2005, I was really excited by the improvements that the Labour Government was making to police services. Since then, stinging Conservative police cuts have left our police numbers seriously depleted, and victim satisfaction with policing has plummeted.
Unfortunately, this has led the public to lose trust in the police service, something that we must urgently work to rectify. Back in 2020, Greater Manchester Police was placed under special measures, and I was very pleased to the speed by which the Mayor of Greater Manchester took decisive action to reform the police service within the region. This has led to the appointment of two new key figures: Chief Superintendent of Tameside Rob Cousen, and Chief Constable Stephen Watson.
Since his appointment last year, Chief Superintendent Cousen – alongside Tameside Council’s Community Safety Officers – has achieved an extraordinary amount here in the Borough. There has been an 18% reduction in anti-social behaviour, a 33% increase in arrests, and a 25% decrease in hate crimes committed across Tameside.
I’ve been really encouraged by CS Cousen’s no-nonsense attitude, and his determination to hold perpetrators to account and continue to protect our communities. CS Cousen has a clear plan of what he will focus on in 2022, and I have been particularly impressed by the attention he is paying to the views of residents and local communities.
Because ultimately policing is all about local people, and about making sure that we all feel safe in the areas we call home. This has been the focus of the Tameside Community Safety Partnership, an initiative led by Tameside Borough Council and Executive Member for community safety Cllr Allison Gwynne.
This partnership ensures that local services work closely together. The fire service, housing providers, volunteers and Tameside Council are all collaborating to reduce anti-social behaviour, tackle violence against women, and clamp down on dangerous driving.
This initiative has been hugely successful, and I am grateful to everyone within the Tameside Community Safety Partnership for the exceptional work that they have done.
Of course, there is still more work to do, and we must make sure that we continue to make it clear that crime will not be tolerated in Tameside. But I want to pay tribute to our reformed police service, who are working around the clock to make a difference. I look forward to seeing what we can achieve over the coming months and years ahead.