Labour has launched a campaign to save the jobs of police officers facing the axe under Government cuts.
Shadow home secretary Ed Balls claimed the axing of 1,387 Greater Manchester Police officers were the “wrong cuts at the wrong time” and risked the safety of communities.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) is one of the first forces to announce the impact of the coalition government’s drive to force down the nation’s budget deficit. Budget savings of £134 million has resulted in the GMP force cutting around 20% of its workforce.
The coalition government insists the cuts are necessary and a result of Labour over-spending.
Mr Balls, launching the campaign and online petition in Manchester, said: “What we have seen so far is a cut of 20% in central government budgets affecting every police force in England and Wales.
“So far we have seen two forces, Greater Manchester with almost 1,400 officers to go and West Midlands with 1,200. I think you will see similar announcements in every force in the country. Every police force other than Surrey has announced a freeze in recruitment.
“What is happening here in Greater Manchester will be felt right across the country. Greater Manchester is doing first what every other force in the country is going to do. We don’t want 20% cuts in police, we don’t want police officers taken off our streets. It’s a mistake.”
Mr Balls said the deficit did need to come down but that the cuts went too far and were being implemented too fast.
He added: “Theresa May, the current Conservative Home Secretary, failed to fight for the police. The police have come off worse than any other area. It runs the risk of the safety of our communities and the safety of people in their neighbourhoods. I really hope people will support our campaign.”
Members of the public can sign the online petition, which goes live on Friday, at www.999wrongcutswrongtime.com