Greater Manchester Police prepare for day of strikes

PLANS are in place to keep Greater Manchester safe ahead of a day of industrial action being taken by public sector workers.

Greater Manchester Police is aware of five planned protests taking place tomorrow in Manchester, Oldham, Wigan, Bury and Bolton.

Fewer than 13,000 protestors are expected across the five sites with the majority, between 6,000 and 8,000, expected in Manchester city centre.

Officers have been liaising with organisers to ensure an appropriate and proportionate police presence at each location.

Members of police staff will be among those expected to be involved in the strikes and GMP is reassuring residents that it will be business as usual across the county.

Assistant Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said: “While we fully respect people’s right to strike we must balance this with the fact that as a police force we have a job to do.

“Due to the cancellation of police officer rest days there will be more officers than normal on the streets and we have plans in place to maintain the service to the public which includes our critical functions such as emergency calls, incidents which are graded as a high priority, custody and major crime investigation.

“Obviously there will be some unknowns and we will deal with them the best we can, when and if, they arise. However I would ask the public to bear this in mind when they are asking for advice or help with non-urgent incidents as the response time to those kinds of incidents may be slightly longer.

“I would ask those who have non-urgent incidents to report to please call the new national non-emergency number of 101. This will reduce the amount of calls to the 999 line meaning that will be better equipped to deal with the genuine emergency calls.”

Police officer rest days have been cancelled and some officers with training in specialist roles, such as custody and operational communications, will be used to fill any posts vacated by police staff taking industrial action.

The numbers of officers on the streets will not be affected, nor will the force’s capacity to deal with and investigate crime.

The numbers of officers on the streets will actually be higher than usual due to the cancellation of rest days.

Events will also go ahead as planned, and the standard policing operation for Manchester United’s Carling Cup match against Crystal Palace will be in place.

In Manchester, protestors are expected to meet on Liverpool Road before beginning a march through the city at about 11.30am before arriving at Whitworth Park for a planned rally at 1pm.

A feeder march is expected to meet in Salford at 10.30am before leaving at 11am to march down Liverpool Road and join other demonstrators.

In October 2011, a demonstration organised by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) passed off without a single arrest when an estimated 35,000 protestors took to the streets of Manchester.

ACC Hopkins added: “As with the protests in October, organisers have been very open and co-operative with us and it is clear that their intention is to demonstrate peacefully, as is their democratic right.

“We do not foresee any potential for disorder but I want to make it abundantly clear that anyone who attends any of the locations with any intention other than taking part in a peaceful and legitimate protest will be dealt with swiftly and robustly.

“It also goes without saying that we simply will not tolerate opportunistic criminality or disorder and our response to the disorder in August showed that in partnership with other authorities, Greater Manchester Police is well-equipped to be able to restore order and help prosecute offenders.”

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