SINCE becoming Leigh’s MP in 2019, I have often taken the opportunity to write about issues that matter most to my constituents, whether that be updating local residents on COVID-19, what I have been working on as your Member of Parliament, or issues that have been raised frequently by local residents, such as housing development, town centre investment, and more.

Not long ago, I wrote a column on the rising number of constituent enquiries about crime and anti-social behaviour in Leigh, and during this column, I want to take the time to update residents about the work I have been doing to tackle this important issue.

As some of may know, earlier this year I wrote to the Home Office, to outline my concerns about rising crime and anti-social behaviour in our constituency, given that more and more residents were reaching out to me to say they were witnessing increasing ASB in our town centre, concerned about the lack of police presence in our town, and in some cases, fearful to leave their home.

Late in April, I secure a meeting with the Policing Minister, Kit Malthouse MP, who outlined that since the Government’s unprecedented policing recruitment strategy was launched, more than 348 new officers have been recruited to Greater Manchester Police alone, as well as an additional £1,862,000 being provided to GMP to tackle serious violent crime.

I also raised my concerns about GMP being placed in special measures during my meeting with the Policing Minister, after it was revealed that 80,000 crimes went unreported in one year alone, and asked for reassurances from the Government that it will prioritise solving the issues within the Senior Management of GMP in order to ensure this never happens again.

In my last column, I also pledged to hold a public Crime Meeting with officers responsible for policing here in Leigh, and I am pleased to say that this meeting took place last week. Residents were invited to put their questions to myself, Chief Inspector Liz Sanderson, and new Inspector Andrew Smith, and a number of crucial concerns were discussed, from drug dealing, anti-social behaviour, police response times, and police visibility in our communities.

Arguably, one of the most important questions raised during this meeting, was “what can residents do to support policing teams?"

One of the key issues the police have raised during private and public meetings in recent weeks, is that whilst residents often post about ongoing ASB or crime on social media, this is not translating into actual crime reporting to the police. Therefore, on a final note, I also wish to highlight the importance of reporting any intelligence or instances of ASB, whether a victim or witness, to GMP, either to 999 (in emergencies), 101 (non-emergencies), or via the online live chat or reporting tools on GMPs website.

By working together, we can ensure that the perpetrators of crime in our area are caught and brought to justice, and over the coming weeks and months, as your MP, I will continue to fight for our fair share of policing resources, funding, and support and will continue to update residents on my progress.