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Dozens call victim support hotline established after damning GMP report

Dozens of calls have been made to a victim support hotline for people unhappy with how Greater Manchester Police is handling their reported crimes.

The service was set up by mayor Andy Burnham after a damning inspection found the force had failed to record 80,000 incidents in a year – including one in four violent crimes.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) warned that people were being ‘denied justice’ after publishing their findings in December.

GMP was subsequently placed into ‘special measures’ in December, with former chief constable Ian Hopkins quitting his post days later.

Andy Burnham, whose role as Greater Manchester mayor covers that of a police and crime commissioner, has himself faced calls to resign since the HMICFRS report.

Mr Burnham claimed that an ‘overly defensive culture’ within GMP hampered his ability to hold Mr Hopkins and the force to account.

Establishing a victim support hotline was the first step taken by Mr Burnham to ‘put the situation right’, and since December it has received 57 calls.

Of these complaints 12 have been formally put to GMP, while other complaints are being followed up, according to deputy mayor Baroness Beverley Hughes.

She told a press conference on Wednesday: “The work to implement the recommendations of the [HMICFRS] report are continuing now very rapidly and robustly.”

The hotline also received ‘a dozen or so’ calls from people who have since been passed onto victim support services in Greater Manchester.

Baroness Hughes said that victims of domestic abuse, and those at risk of harm, could still leave their homes and access support despite the new coronavirus lockdown.

The government has allocated £571,196 to 26 charities and organisations in Greater Manchester that help victims and survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence.

Volunteers will be able to provide more counselling and hire additional staff to cope with increased demand, while they will also be able to make their offices Covid-secure and provide PPE to staff.

“We know for some victims the pandemic has meant spending more time at home with their potential abuser, and as a result this means victims have been cut off from their existing support networks,” said Baroness Hughes.

“Our message to victims of domestic abuse is – you are not alone, and support is still here if you need it.”

If you, or someone you know, is feeling anxious and unsafe in their home, visit gmvictims.org.uk or call 0161 200 1950 for help and advice, including how to access local support services

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