THE Police and Crime Commissioner of Greater Manchester has claimed Government cuts of £6.4m are to directly hit front line policing.

Tony Lloyd said the money which is to be cut from the Greater Manchester Police (GMP) budget could pay for 145 police officers or 210 PCSOs.

The commissioner said: “Be in no doubt – this is money that is being taken directly from frontline policing here in Greater Manchester.

“It is funding that the chief constable could and should be using to keep the people I represent safe.

“Instead it is being used to fund pet projects that will be of little or no benefit to the people of Greater Manchester.”

However, the Home Office argued police reform is working and crime levels in Greater Manchester are falling.

Proposals Mr Lloyd refers to as ‘pet projects’ include the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and the scheme to allow people to join the police service and be immediately fast-tracked to a senior rank.

The largest proportion of the £6.4m cut will go towards the Police Innovation Fund, for which £2.65m will be ‘top-skimmed’ from GMPs budget along with £0.95m will help fund the IPCC and £0.48m will go towards the HMIC inspection.

“Remarkably, some money is even being taken from GMP to give to the City of London Police – the force that protects the banking industry,” said Mr Lloyd.

However, a Home Office spokesman told Messenger that while £0.11m of the £6.4m cut from GMP will on the surface be redirected to the City of London Police, this is to fund the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), which although based in London, serves all forces.

Graham Roe, Homewatch area coordinator for the Nurseries Estate, in Sale Moor, said he has felt the impact of recent police cuts and was moved to contact the commissioner on the issue.

He said: “I feel that what the Government is trying to do is appalling – taking funding which GMP are rightfully entitled to in order to fund projects in the capital is undemocratic frankly.

“It’s an inequality of opportunity and it’s just plain wrong.”

A Home Office spokesman said:"Police reform is working and two independent measures both show overall crime levels are falling. “The latest figures show crime has fallen by nine per cent in Manchester in the past year.

"It is for chief constables to take all appropriate action against crime in their areas and for Police and Crime Commissioners to ensure forces are delivering on the issues that matter to local people.

"Getting the economy back on track has meant a challenging funding settlement for the police, but forces like Manchester have shown an ability to make savings while still cutting crime.”