THE Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester held a closed meeting with Trafford Council to discuss policing after the city-region’s police force was placed into special measures.

The meeting came after local calls for Mayor Andy Burnham to set out an action plan to bring Greater Manchester Police ‘up to scratch’ in Trafford.

Conservative members of the council criticised the fact that the meeting was held in private and felt members of the public, especially those who were victims of unrecorded crime, should be able to observe and participate.

Cllr Nathan Evans, Conservative group leader, said: “Trafford residents deserve to be able to hear why their police force has been put in special measures and why.”

On the same day as the briefing to Trafford Council, Home Secretary Priti Patel slammed the ‘appalling situation’ at Greater Manchester Police and promised to ‘hold everybody to account’.

During the closed meeting, a commitment was restated to place 20 new police officers in schools across the city region, if requested by head teachers – prompting criticism from Trafford’s Liberal Democrats.

Trafford Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Julian Newgrosh said: “I’m deeply disappointed that the Labour Mayor still thinks it’s appropriate to move forward with school-based policing. Schools should be preserved as places of supportive safety, not as places of punitive social control. 

“There is overwhelming evidence telling us that these officers can have a hugely negative affect on young people of colour, who are already horrendously over-policed.

“Andy Burnham should be looking to the hugely successful public health models in Glasgow, rather than knee-jerk reactions like this.”

Research in the British Medical Journal from 2018 shows children are most at risk from violent crime between the hours of 4pm and 6pm, after school hours.

Bev Hughes, deputy mayor of Greater Manchester for policing, crime and criminal justice, said: “In Greater Manchester we want all schools to be safe places for children and young people as well as for staff. We are committed to making this happen and this proposal extends our existing neighbourhood policing approach into schools if a headteacher requests it. It will only happen if a school asks for the support."

Greater Manchester Police’s assistant chief constable Rob Potts said: “As part of our overall neighbourhood policing strategy, GMP is committed to working more closely with schools and educational establishments in accordance with local needs. This forms a key part of our plan to help prevent knife crime and serious violence."