GMP Chief Constable Stephen Watson will face scrutiny from Bolton Council

THE newly appointed chief superintendent for Greater Manchester Police will face scrutiny from town hall chiefs about car crime and "aggressive begging” when he visits town next month.

Stephen Watson was elected to head up the city region’s "failing police force” earlier this year.

He will attend a meeting in front of the full council next month on October 7, when representatives from across the borough will take part in a question and answer session to highlight their main concerns around policing in Bolton.

Councillors across the word have a number of high-priority issues, but there is also a wider concern around the number of crimes that are not being investigated properly.

Bolton Council leader Cllr Martyn Cox said: "I think it’s a general concern that we have had for a while, which is that Greater Manchester Police has been a failing organisation for some time.

"There are so many crimes which are reported which have gone uninvestigated, and this has led to a lack of confidence in the police.

"Car crime and speeding I am sure is going to be high on the agenda – as well as theft, burglaries and criminal damage.”

Although begging is not a crime, "aggressive begging” is – and the council leader says it is affecting a lot of people’s safety in the borough.

He added: "We often know who they are and we know that they are a part of criminal gangs.

"We also know that feeding their addictions is not helping anyone – and it also gives off a terrible image for our town.

"We are hoping that things will change.” Cllr Sean Hornby, ward councillor for Little Lever and Darcy Lever, is concerned about the rising levels of car crime and car theft in his area and across Bolton. He said: "The public has lost all faith in the police, right from when you ring 101 and have to hold the line for 40 minutes before getting through to an operator.

"A lot of people are not reporting crimes because it takes long to get through.

"In my area, I think car crime is the main issue at the moment – I’m certainly hoping to ask him a question about that.

"A lot of the people who are stealing and causing damage to cars are teenagers. And the sentences are not harsh enough. They often get let out on bail and in the meantime continue to commit these types of crimes.

"And I think a lot the officers need retraining. Even if we put 5,000 more police officers on the beat, it will take some time to train them all up properly.

"I think his plans are ambitious. Even if he can achieve half of what he is setting out to do then I think that would be a major step forward.”

It comes as a new chief superintendent has also been appointed for Bolton.

Stuart Ellison was made the district commander for Bolton last week under a new look local policing structure which sees a dedicated and accountable chief superintendent in each district.



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