Victim support hotline set up after damning GMP report to close

A helpline offering support to victims concerned about how their crime has been dealt with by Greater Manchester Police will close on Friday (19 February).

Since its launch, there have been 240 calls to the Greater Manchester Crime Support Line, delivered by Victim Support on behalf of Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA).

But GMCA say the victim support hotline will now close 'as there has been very few calls in recent weeks'. 

Any new callers will be diverted automatically to the existing Greater Manchester Victims’ Service helpline for support to help them cope and recover.

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 (GMP) directly.

The Greater Manchester Crime Support Line was launched back in December to provide support to victims of crime who may have concerns about how their crime has been recorded by GMP or were not referred to victim support services.

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’. 

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, 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.

"I want to reassure every victim of crime, that whilst the crime support line will close the wider existing support available to you remains available and accessible. You can contact the Greater Manchester Victims’ Services on 0161 200 1950 or visit gmvictims.org.uk.

“If you are not happy with the way GMP has dealt with your crime you can raise a complaint through the usual process via GMP’s website.” 

People wishing to report a crime that has taken place within the last month should contact police directly by calling 101 or report online at gmp.police.uk, but people should always call 999 if someone is in immediate danger. 

People can also contact GMP directly if they want to make a complaint, request an update on an existing crime, or submit a new crime report. 

If you are not satisfied with how a complaint was handled by GMP, people may also be able to request an independent review by GMCA. 

Mayor Andy Burnham and Deputy Mayor Bev Hughes are responsible for the performance of GMP and, from this month, became responsible for the management of independent reviews that would not otherwise be managed by the Independent Office for Police Conduct. 

The Greater Manchester Victims’ Service's normal opening hours are 9am-7pm Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm Saturday. There is a voicemail facility to take out of hours messages.

Anyone in need of urgent support outside of these hours should call Victim Support’s national Supportline on 08 08 16 89 111 – this is open 24/7. Alternatively, you can use Live Chat online at victimsupport.org.uk. You can also find help, advice, and local support services at gmvictims.org.uk

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