IT seems like the years fly by more and more quickly as each one passes.

It is hard to believe that I’m back in my constituency office and Summer Recess has begun once again for another year.

One thing I often get asked is why MPs get such a long summer break.

That isn’t quite true – just because Parliament isn’t sitting for July and August, it doesn’t mean that important work isn’t being done.

For me, it means I get to work full time in Bolton West and Atherton, catching up with constituents and casework and spending more time visiting businesses and organisation right around the constituency.

One of my first tasks of the Summer Recess was to spend a Saturday evening doing a shift with Greater Manchester Police.

It was an eye-opening experience and a chance for me to see first-hand the pressures faced by local police on a daily basis.

I started the evening with a briefing by an inspector and then joined a team briefing before heading out onto a patrol.

I shadowed an experienced policeman and we responded to a wide variety of different calls across the area.

There were missing children to attend to, and even a visit to the local red light district as part of the regular patrol.

As it was a Saturday night, I had expected there would be some alcohol-related calls but I was shocked to see how drunks are causing a disproportionate amount of trouble.

The vast majority of people are well behaved and just want to enjoy a night out.

However, we attended reports of bouncers being threatened, including one with a knife.

The police can’t just ignore this sort of behaviour and it takes up a huge amount of their time having to respond to it.

Just think how much of the police’s valuable time could be freed up if they didn’t have to deal with drunken yobs.

Another alcohol-related pressure that police face was hearing about what they have to do when responding to people with mental health issues who also happen to be drunk.

In these cases, they have to actually wait until these people have sobered up before they can hand them over to a mental health unit.

In some instances this can mean two police officers physically having to sit with someone while they sober up.

Again, a huge time pressure that seems unfair.

One thing I took away from my shift was that there is far too much red tape that prevents the police from doing their job.

There is too much paperwork and they are doing things that other public services should be doing.

I certainly came away with a list of issues to raise with Ministers once Parliament returns after the summer.

Greater Manchester police do a fantastic job under immense pressure.

It was wonderful to be able to spend an evening with them to find out first-hand exactly what work goes into keeping us all safe.