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Police chief's cuts comments 'irresponsible'

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A top police officer has been branded “irresponsible” after he questioned the coalition government’s budget cuts.

Peter Fahy, chief constable of Greater Manchester Police (GMP) claimed the axe falling on services could lead to vulnerable people being put at risk.

And he went on to say bureaucrats and politicians do not understand the pressures his officers were under, adding: “Whitehall doesn’t get it.”

His comments, made while speaking at a conference on sexual violence in Manchester, provoked a strong response from the Home Office.

“We do not expect forces to stop providing essential policing services and it’s utterly irresponsible to use language like this,” a spokesman for the ministry said.

“The government has been clear that the police must play their part in tackling the deficit, but that savings can and must be made while protecting the front line.”

Mr Fahy was making the point that cuts were affecting the ability of police to work with other agencies to help tackle crime and spot potential signs of tragedies before they happened. He referred to the tragic death of four-year-old Chloe Burke whose body was found next to her mother Dawn Makin, 33, last week at their home in Bury.

Ms Makin is understood to have drunk toxic fluid and slashed her own wrists and remains critically ill in hospital. Post-mortem examination results confirmed Chloe died from stab wounds.

With voluntary services and local authorities also facing cuts, Mr Fahy voiced concern it would make it harder for his officers to help vulnerable people.

GMP needs to save £134m, a quarter of its budget, by 2015, with 3,000 posts likely to go including up to 1,400 officers, over the next four years.

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