Greater Manchester Police
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) is the territorial police force responsible for law enforcement within the metropolitan county of Greater Manchester in North West England. GMP is the fifth largest police service in the United Kingdom after the Metropolitan Police Service, Police Scotland, Police Service of Northern Ireland and West Midlands Police; and is the third largest force in England & Wales.
|Greater Manchester Police|
Badge of the Greater Manchester Police
|Formed||1 April, 1974|
|Annual budget||£524.1 million|
|Legal personality||Police force|
|Operations jurisdiction||Greater Manchester, England, UK|
|Map of Greater Manchester Police area|
|Size||492 square miles (1,300 km2)|
|Population||Approx. 2.7 million|
|Legal jurisdiction||England & Wales|
|Headquarters||Central Park, Northampton Road, Manchester|
|Constables||6,979 (of which 661 are special constables)|
|Police Community Support Officers||600|
|Panda cars||Ford Focus|
|Pursuit vehicles||Vauxhall Vectra C|
BMW 3 Series
BMW 5 Series
|Patrol vehicles||Range Rover|
Land Rover Discovery
As of September 2017, Greater Manchester Police employed; 6,237 police officers, 512 Volunteer Special Constables, 606 Police Community Support Officers, and 2,961 members of police staff.The GMP headquarters are at Central Park, on Northampton Road, in the Newton Heath area of Manchester.
Greater Manchester Police was directly created from two recently amalgamated city police forces, Manchester and Salford Police and parts of what were Lancashire Constabulary, Cheshire Constabulary and West Yorkshire Constabulary on 1 April 1974. The city forces were Manchester Borough Police which formed in the late 1830s and Salford Borough Police which began in 1844. Upon Manchester gaining city status in 1853, its police force changed its name to Manchester City Police to reflect its status. In 1926, Salford also became a city, resulting in Salford Borough Police becoming Salford City Police. These two city forces operated until 1968 when, as a result of compulsory amalgamation, as per the Police Act 1964, Salford City Police merged with Manchester City Police, resulting in the new force of Manchester and Salford Police. This new force lasted only 6 years, when in 1974 the Local Government Act 1972 created the Metropolitan County of Greater Manchester and with it, Greater Manchester Police. An increase of 284,241 acres in terms of policing area and 2,267,090 people over the abolished Manchester and Salford Police.
Indirectly GMP can also trace its heritage to a number of other borough forces, each with their own significant history, which had been abolished in the late 1960s (under the Police Act 1964) and which had been amalgamated into the county forces of Lancashire and Cheshire. These two county forces only policed these boroughs for around 6 years before Greater Manchester was created and GMP took over responsibility for providing police services. In the historic Lancashire county area these borough police forces were Bolton Borough Police (1839-1969) , Oldham Borough Police (1849-1969), Rochdale Borough Police (1857-1969) and Wigan Borough Police (1836-1969). In the historic Cheshire county area this included Stockport Borough Police (at least 1835-1967).
The first Chief Constable of GMP was William James Richards. Richards had been the chief constable of the short lived Manchester and Salford Police (1968 to 1974) and before that chief constable of Manchester City Police (1966 to 1968). Following his retirement on 30 June 1976, James Anderton became the new chief constable on 1 July 1976. James Anderton was a controversial figure during his 15 years in office due to his outspoken style of leadership and hardline views on crime, policing and morality. In 1991 David Wilmot succeeded James Anderton. In 2002 Michael Todd was appointed to Chief Constable until his death, by suicide, in 2008.
There was much press coverage of the death of the then Chief Constable Michael J. Todd in March 2008. Todd was seen as a man of action and got more "bobbies on the beat", with himself often doing so. GMP's Assistant Chief Constable became the Acting Chief Constable until the appointment of Peter Fahy, previously head of Cheshire Police, as Chief Constable in September 2008.
Police Constable Ian Rodgers was the first GMP officer to be killed in the line of duty in 1975. His death occurred in a railway incident at Stockport. Since the formation of GMP 20 officers have been killed or died in the line of duty. GMP then assisted with the reconstruction of Manchester following the 1996 Manchester bombing, with Garry Shewan.
In the 1990s, Manchester had gained the deriding tag of 'Gunchester', in reference to the city's high gun crime rate at the time. Greater Manchester Police faced the problem of gun crime in Manchester, particularly in the deprived districts in south Manchester. Key gang leaders were jailed for life in 2009 and by 2011, the city had shaken off the tag.
On 14 October 2010, Greater Manchester Police posted details of all calls made to them in a 24-hour period on Twitter. The service posted details of every incident reported to its officers in 24 hours to demonstrate how much of their time is spent on what the Chief Constable called "social work" instead of fighting crime. They repeated this exercise on 14 October 2014.
GMP have used social media as a helpful force rather than a hindrance. In the 2011 England riots, with criticism of the role social media such as Twitter and Facebook had in instigating the riots, GMP stated that support on social media had resulted in many responses from members of the public in trying to catch suspects. GMP then naming and shamed any convicted individuals over the riots.
From November 2012 to May 2017 the Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner was Tony Lloyd. The police and crime commissioner was scrutinised by the Greater Manchester Police and Crime Panel, made up of elected councillors from the local authorities in the police area. Before November 2012 the Greater Manchester Police Authority was the police governance. However, under new plans for an elected Mayor of Greater Manchester announced by George Osborne in November 2014, the position of Police and Crime Commissioner was removed and its responsibilities subsumed into the mayoral office. The first Mayoral election took place in 2017, in which Andy Burnham was elected Mayor of Greater Manchester.
The area GMP polices is split into geographical divisions, with each Metropolitan borough of Greater Manchester being assigned one. As of 2016, the two divisions covering the City of Manchester were merged, forming the City of Manchester division. Each division provides officers that patrol the community and respond to emergencies, along with CID officers. Neighbourhood Beat Officers are aligned to particular areas on each division, with a remit to solve local problems. Each division is headed by a Superintendent.
In 2012, B and C divisions merged to become the South Manchester division, and in 2016, A and E divisions also merged to create the City Of Manchester Division. As of 2019, these are the current divisions:
- A Division - City Of Manchester Division
- F Division - Salford Division
- G Division - Tameside Division
- I Division - Manchester Airport Division
- J Division - Stockport Division
- K Division - Bolton Division
- L Division - Wigan Division
- M Division - Trafford Division
- N Division - Bury Division
- P Division - Rochdale Division
- Q Division - Oldham Division
- Manchester city centre policing
Road Policing Unit
GMP also operates a Road Policing Unit (RPU) responsible for all traffic policing in the county, which includes over 280 miles (450 km) of motorway. GMP RPU uses a variety of vehicles, each with its own purpose. For general roads policing duties the service operates a number of BMW 3 Series Saloon and Estate vehicles which have replaced the previous use of the Vauxhall Vectra Saloon vehicles. The motorway unit operates both BMW X5 and Land Rover Discovery 4x4 vehicles. As well as liveried vehicles GMP also operates a number of unmarked BMW and Audi vehicles, which are used for general road policing and motorway duties. Previously the Motorway and the Motorcycle units stood separately, but in recent years both have been incorporated into the RPU's. BMW R1200RT-P motorcycles have recently replaced the Honda Pan-European ST 1100s & ill-fated ST 1300s. In 2009 The RPU's were divided into three strategic units, based at RPU 1 Leigh, RPU 2 Hyde & RPU 3 Chadderton. Due to the constraints on budgets and the latested review, the Road Policing Unit will lose a further 78 officers and in 2012 restructured/reduced to two RPU's based at Eccles and Chadderton. This has reduce the strength of the RPU to only 100 officers over a 5 shift system providing only 20 officers per shift to cover the police area. 2014 has seen this further reduced to 10-12 officers working the force area per shift as further cuts reduce officer numbers.
During the 1990s, the GMP's area had a high rate of car crime. To combat this the Tactical Vehicle Crime Unit was formed which in 2010 was replaced by Vortex which was based at Stretford Police Station.
In June 2011, The Tactical Vehicle Crime Unit was re formed under the slightly different name, Tactical Vehicle Intercept Unit. The unit continued to utilise a selection of high performance unmarked vehicles and officers worked alongside the ANPR Intercept Unit to combat serious and organised criminals using the road network.
In 2016 the unit merged with firearms, dogs and the Tactical Aid Unit to form the Specialist Operations Team.
Air Support Unit
GMP's Air Support Unit, with its call sign as India 99, operates an MD Explorer helicopter, along with a fixed-wing Britten-Norman BN-2T-4S Defender, with its call sign being India 66 (now NPAS **, India callsigns no longer used). The current aircraft operate from City Airport Manchester, formerly Barton Aerodrome. GMP trialled a tethered blimp in 2010 for which would provide surveillance for major events which would be a cheaper alternative to the use of a helicopter in the long term. However, the blimp was only used on 18 occasions and was sold due to operational problems.
From 2012, the GMP Air Support Unit became part of the National Police Air Service. India 99 subsequently became part of the North West Air Operations Group division, which operates four helicopters merged from GMP, Cheshire Constabulary, North Wales Police and Lancashire Constabulary. The service aims to save money and provide flexibility, as historically each police service was only permitted to operate its helicopter in its policing region. The National Police Air Service operates the four helicopters based on the most serious incidents in the North West Air Operations Group jurisdiction, rather than assigning one helicopter to one region. This creates the possibility that two helicopters could be used in one police area (i.e. Greater Manchester, Merseyside etc.) if incidents are deemed fit and viable to do so.
The current helicopter has been in operation since 2017, and previous to that, the previous GMP helicopter had served for 7 years. The current aircraft is a Eurocopter EC135. In 2007, the GMP helicopter carried out nearly 5,500 assignments and was involved in the arrests of 700 suspects.
Now decommissioned, India 66 was a fixed-wing Britten-Norman Islander aircraft, mostly used in reconnaissance assignments for GMP. With the Police Service of Northern Ireland & Hampshire Constabulary it was one of only three police services in the United Kingdom to operate a fixed wing aircraft.
Tactical Aid Unit
GMP operates a Tactical Aid Unit which is used in crowd control instances. The service has policed notable riots such as the 2001 Oldham race riots, the 2008 UEFA Cup Final riots and the 2011 England riots which affected Salford and Manchester city centre in 2011.
Serious Crime Division
The GMP Counter Terrorism Unit was formed in April 2007 to prevent the spread of terrorism. The city has experienced incidents with the intention to spread terror, such as the 1996 Manchester Bombing and the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing. Most recently, the unit helped thwart the 2009 plot to launch terror attacks on the Trafford Centre, Arndale Centre and nearby St Ann's Square.
Tactical Firearms Unit
Officers of the GMP, as in the rest of Great Britain, do not routinely carry firearms. Instead, the GMP maintains a firearms unit to provide them with a capability to deal with armed criminals. The Greater Manchester Police, Tactical Firearms Unit maintains Armed Response Vehicles, which transport armed officers to the scene. Like some other services, firearms officers carry the Heckler & Koch G36 along with the Heckler & Koch MP5 semi-automatic carbine, Glock 17 pistol, and the X2 Taser.
In 2003 GMP had over 110 dogs. However, this has recently been reduced to only 35 dogs across the force, leaving many areas without a single dog available. The dogs are involved in important operational duties such as tracking, building searches, and other criminal work across Greater Manchester. The majority of general purpose police dogs are German Shepherds, but other breeds are also used, including Rottweilers, Belgian Shepherds and Giant Schnauzers.
The GMP maintains a mounted policing capability. The mounted officers are employed to target crime hotspots and are also seen at many events including demonstrations and the region's football matches. Horses are also used to search inaccessible areas for missing or wanted people. The unit is made up of a team of specialist police officers, skilled grooms and trainers, and 35 horses. The mounted unit is based at Hough End, in Chorlton, and uses horseboxes to transport the horses for duties around Greater Manchester.
GMP has over 650 Special Constables, who are assigned to each of the twelve divisions. Special Constables work alongside their regular counterparts and are mainly assigned to divisions and work within Local Policing Teams (LPTs), however some divisions still allow officers to work within response teams when LPT's are not on duty. Between 2009 and 2012 a small number of Special Constables were integrated into the Special Operations Department (X – Depart) working within the Road Policing Units (RPU's), undertaking a full and complete duties within the traffic department, resulting in a high number of arrests, for a variety of offences, and seizure of unlicensed/uninsured vehicles. The dedication of these officers, in both commitment and performance, has resulted in a number of awards both within the force and nationally.
In addition there are a number of Special Constables engaged, with support of their employers in the Employee Supported Policing scheme. This is where the officers employer supports the officers duties, usually with paid time, 8 hours per month are commonly covered to undertake their Special Constabulary duties at their normal place of work.
Special Constables are normally co-ordinated by the Chief Officer of the Special Constabulary, currently Michael Walmsley, and divisional commanders. Under the guidance of the Chief Constable, it was envisaged that the number of Special Constables within GMP would increase to 1,000 officers, within a 3-year period from 2009, to date this target has not been achieved.
Video Intelligence Unit
Greater Manchester Police is a partner in the following collaborations:
Uniform and equipment
The normal GMP uniform is now combat-style trousers and a black zipped-neck polo shirt; a high-visibility jacket is worn as necessary. Headgear for male constables and sergeants is a custodian helmet when on foot patrol and the peaked cap has been reintroduced at other times. The Road Policing Unit uses white-topped peaked caps and peaked caps with braiding or fretting is used for the ranks of inspector and above. Female officers wear a rounded bowler-style hat. As with other services, GMP traffic officers wear a cap with a white top. Some specialists, such as police dog handlers and firearms officers, wear a blue shirt.
With effect from 1 June 2009, GMP adopted a new uniform for operational officers. This comprises a back zip-neck t-shirt and straight-leg-style combat trousers. PCSOs are issued with a light-blue t-shirt.
Uniformed officers when on duty carry a handheld encrypted Airwave radio (made by Sepura) which makes use of TETRA technology. On their duty belt (or in the case of CID officers, a covert harness) they carry: an expandable baton which has recently been changed from the rigid Monadnock PR-24 Baton to the extendable Monadnock Autolock Baton, a LED torch, leg restraints, infectious disease pouch, CS spray (changing to PAVA in 2019), rigid Hiatt speedcuffs, a first aid pouch (containing medical gloves (nitrile), CPR mask and antiseptic wipes), and are required to wear a stab/ballistic vest whilst on operational duties. They will also carry their Pocket Notebook and, if trained, a Taser X26 stun-gun.
Armed Police Officers with the GMP utilize the following:
Standard panda Cars include:
- Ford Focus Hatchback and Estate
- Ford Fiesta Hatchback
- Hyundai i30 Hatchback
- Peugeot 308 Hatchback
- Vauxhall Astra Hatchback and Estate
- Vauxhall Corsa Hatchback
Prisoner Transport Vehicles
- Ford Focus Estate – "Cell Car" Modified & divided rear seat area
- Ford Transit Connect "Caged" Van
- Ford Transit "Caged" Van
- Vauxhall Vivaro "Caged" Van
- Volkswagen Transporter "Caged" Van
Roads Policing Unit Vehicles include:
- BMW 3 Series Saloons & Estates
- BMW 5 Series Saloons & Estates
- BMW X5
- Land Rover Discovery 4
- Audi A4 Saloons (Unmarked)
- Vauxhall Vectra now withdrawn with the exception of 3 x Estates within the Collision Investigation
Tactical Vehicle Intercept Unit "TVIU" (ANPR Unit)
- BMW 3 Series Saloons (Liveried)
- BMW 3 Series Saloons (Unmarked)
- BMW 1 Series Hatchback(Liveried)+(Unmarked)
- Audi S3 Hatchback(Unmarked)
- Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback(Unmarked)
- Audi A4 Saloons(Unmarked)
- BMW X5 SUV(Unmarked)
- Various High Performance Unliveried Vehicles
The Tactical Aid Unit operate a number of Volkswagen Crafter and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter personnel carriers, which are modernised for public order situations and designed to withstand impact from thrown objects and flames.
The Tactical Dog Unit operate Vauxhall Astra Estate Ford Focus Estate Vehicles as well as high performance Vauxhall Vectra Hatchbacks which are used for rapid deployment across the service's divisions.
The Tactical Firearms Unit operate: Land Rover Discovery, Mercedes-Benz Vito, BMW X5 and heavily armoured Land Rover Defender vehicles which are modernised for Firearms use. This includes ballistic protection and firearms storage compartments for safe transport.
Greater Manchester Police produce its own newspaper, Brief, which is distributed to thousands of officers, making it one of the largest in circulation. Each 20-page issue has a mix of news about police initiatives, policies and crime successes, in-depth articles on specialist units, social and sports news, and regular features.
Officers killed in the line of duty
The following officers of Greater Manchester Police are listed by the Police Roll of Honour Trust as having died during the course of their duties:
- PC Fiona Bone, 2012 (killed in firearm and grenade attack; cause of death gunshot wound to the chest)
- PC Nicola Hughes, 2012 (killed in firearm and grenade attack; cause of death gunshot wounds)
- PC Christopher Hart, 2010 (Died in a road traffic incident while on duty responding to a 999 call)
- PC Ian Terry, 2008 (shot during a firearms training exercise)
- PC Allan Shaw, 2006 (died as a result of a Motor Cycle RTC during a special escort training exercise)
- DC Stephen Oake, 2003 (stabbed during anti-terrorism operation, posthumously awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal)
- PC Alison Armitage, 2001 (run over by a car thief)
- PC Raja Bashrat Ahmed, 1999 (Police motorcycle rammed into oncoming traffic by car thief)
- PC Robert Nathans, 1999 (collapsed and died after pursuing a suspect)
- Insp Raymond Anthony Codling, 1989 (shot while questioning a suspect on car park at Birch Services M62)
- DC John Sandford, 1982 (attacked while investigating reports of an indecent assault)
- PC John Egerton, 1982 (stabbed during an arrest, posthumously awarded Queen's Commendation for Brave Conduct)
In June 2017, less than a month after the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing, the Chief Constable of GMP, Ian Hopkins, said the force was under strain due to funding cuts. Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, intended to write to the Prime Minister claiming that the GMP was up to its limits "and probably beyond them". In March 2010 there was a total workforce of 13,189 staff, but projections suggested there would be only 10,108 by 2020. Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) maintained that the number of police officers would reduce by 1,800 over the next ten years. Burnham feared that pressure on the GMP was increasing due to terrorism and also because of a rise in violent crime in the region. Burnham told The Guardian, "There’s no question about it: GMP needs more officers. They are at their limits, probably beyond them, in terms of what they are dealing with. The chief constable has described it as the low end of reasonable. Therefore, that’s borderline unreasonable."
GMP incidents and investigations
- Moors murders, 1960s – The investigation into the Moors murders was taken up by Cheshire Police. Since the Local Government Act 1972, Saddleworth Moors fall into Greater Manchester jurisdiction. GMP have attempted to search Saddleworth Moors without success to find the fifth victim, Keith Bennett.
- Harold Shipman, 1998 – Shipman was a doctor by profession who murdered patients. Shipman's proven victims totalled 218 making him the most prolific serial killer in history. His victim count probably was higher, with 236 believed to be more accurate.
- 1996 Manchester bombing, 15 June 1996 – A 3300 lb bomb was positioned in Manchester city centre on Corporation Street. The bomb was the largest bomb in the United Kingdom since World War II and the IRA admitted responsibility. Officers from Greater Manchester Police, assisted by other emergency services, evacuated over 80,000 people from the immediate vicinity of the bomb, from the first tip-off at approximately 10:00AM to 11:16AM when the bomb exploded. Hundreds were injured, many from shard of glass but there were no fatalities. As of 2012, the perpetrators have not been caught and GMP stated in 1996 that it is unlikely anyone will be charged in relation to the bombing.
- Gun crime in south Manchester, 1995–2009 – Gun crime in south Manchester peaked in 1999 with forty-three gun-related injuries and seven fatalities and continued until the early 2000s. Manchester went a year without a gun related fatality from February 2008 to 2009 for the first time in over a decade. This reduction is attributed to the jailing of eleven members of the Gooch Gang in 2009 and the service operates Xcalibre unit which tackles gang and gun-related crime and violence in Greater Manchester – deterring individuals from joining gangs and prohibiting the availability of firearms. As of 2012, gun crime in south Manchester is now rare.
- 2008 UEFA Cup Final riots (also known as the Battle of Piccadilly) – The 2008 UEFA Cup Final on 14 May 2008. Some Rangers fans instigated scuffles and disorder before the match had started and when the video screen broke during the match, the disorder descended into riots.
- 2011 England riots, August 2011 – The riots originally started in London on Saturday 6 August, and in response GMP sent 100 riot police officers on Tuesday 9 August. Riots with opportunist looting broke out in Manchester city centre on the evening of Tuesday 15.
- 2017 Manchester Arena bombing, 22 May 2017 - An explosion occurred at the end of an Ariana Grande concert, killing 22 people, and injuring 59. GMP had a heavy police response, with many general duties officers and specialised firearms officers descending on the scene. The bomb squad responded, doing a controlled demolition on some abandoned clothes.
In 2003, video evidence emerged documenting racist acts by police trainees and officers, including one member applauding Hitler and another donning a Ku Klux Klan outfit. Flagrant use of racist language to deride other police trainees was also reported.
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