PRIME Minister Theresa May today claimed that cuts to police budgets are not responsible for spiralling levels of violent crime in Trafford, as she visited Sale ahead of the local elections on Thursday.

The Prime Minister made a discreet appearance at Brooklands Primary School in support of Trafford Conservatives, where she suggested that Mayor Andy Burnham must take responsibility for tackling the rise in violent crime that has plagued the city region.

Speaking to The Messenger, May refused to acknowledge that police cuts, made during her term as Home Secretary, were responsible for the 100 per cent rise in violent crime in Trafford since 2014.

The Prime Minister arrived at the school in dramatic fashion amid a rumbling motorcade of armed police. May was greeted at the school entrance by two Brooklands pupils before sitting in on a Science class and discussing Isaac Newton with the children.

After spending time with the school children, the Prime Minister sat down with reporters and answered questions on local issues, ranging from crime and potholes to the Windrush scandal.

After informing the Prime Minister that violent crime has doubled in Trafford over the past three years, we asked May whether police budget cuts, including axeing 2,000 officers from Greater Manchester Police (GMP), was a factor in this worrying rise in crime.

The Prime Minister refused to acknowledge that police cuts were responsible for the rise in crime but instead suggested that Labour's Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham must take responsibility for policing in the city region.

The Messenger: Violent crime has doubled in Trafford since 2014. Why do you think this is? And do you think cuts to GMP's budget is a factor?

May: "The Home Office has recently published a document on its serious violence strategy because we see this as an area that we do need to work with police forces to deal with.

"Of course, here in Greater Manchester, the Police and Crime Commissioner is the Mayor, Andy Burnham, and it is him and the Chief Constable who are responsible for making the decisions about how they operate to tackle violent crime. They make the operational decisions about policing.

"But if you are going to deal with things like knife crime, it's not just about policing, it's actually about a whole range of other issues, it's about encouraging young people, that if they carry a knife they're more likely to be the victim of a knife crime.

"It's about ensuring that we're dealing with those wider issues, like drugs as well."

The Messenger also quizzed the Prime Minister on Trafford's pothole crisis and asked whether a Conservative Council would continue to commit funds to fixing them after the election.

The Messenger: The roads in Trafford are terrible, the potholes are awful and work only seems to happen just before an election. What would you say to people who are worried that spending on roads might dry up on Friday?

May: "Trafford Conservatives have been very clear that they recognise the importance of the state of the local roads and they've allocated money to improve the local roads.

"That's why Trafford Conservatives are a council that actually recognise the issues that matter to people, not just roads, but keeping regular bin collections and also keeping council tax low. It is the lowest council tax in Greater Manchester."

May praised the work of Amey, the contractor responsible for delivering many of Trafford's public services, stating that the partnership between council and contractor had been a success.

The Messenger: But people do actually blame the deterioration of services such as roads maintenance and bin services on the private partnership with Amey around here. Some people on the doorstep say it has been an utter disaster?

May: "I think if you look at what that partnership has provided, Trafford has seen some of the highest recycling rates in the country and that's important.

"Look at what Labour are doing with bin collections, they are actually extending the time you have to wait to have your bin collected. Trafford is ensuring it is providing good quality services and keeping the council tax low."

When pressed on whether her visit to Sale was evidence that the Conservatives might be worried about losing Trafford to Labour on Thursday, the Prime Minister claimed confidence was still high in the Trafford Conservative camp.

The Messenger: Why are you here today and why has the Conservative Party struggled in Greater Manchester in the past?

May: "When people go to the polls on Thursday, they'll be asking themselves who they want to see running their local councils, who do they want to see running their local services.

"And when they do that they'll be asking themselves who will run good services and who will keep council tax low. And as Trafford Council shows, it is the Conservatives who provide good quality service and keep council tax low.

"I think what Trafford is showing is how Conservative Councils actually do provide those good quality services and lower council tax. I think people can look at Trafford and see what voting Conservative provides - good quality services and lower council tax.

"When people come to vote at the Local Elections on Thursday, they are going to be asking themselves, who is going to be able to provide good quality services and lower council tax, and that is what Trafford has shown, that a Conservative council will provide.

"You can compare Trafford council with Labour-run Stockport Council, where people pay more in council tax in Stockport than you do in Trafford.

"I think that's what people will be asking themselves across the board when they go to vote on Thursday."

The Prime Minister ended her meeting with local reporters by expressing her regret over the Windrush scandal, saying, "They're British, they're here, they're part of us. They helped to build this country."

The Prime Minister left the leafy streets of Sale just after noon, taking a helicopter to Cumbria for the next leg of her whistle-stop local elections campaign.