Posted by Kate Green, MP for Stretford and Urmston, at 10:01, Fri 13 July 2012:
This week, Greater Manchester police announced cuts to frontline police services, with Trafford Division hardest hit. We'll lose nearly 1 in 10 of our frontline officers in the borough, 27 out of a total of 274.
I'm really angry about this cut. Crime is low in Trafford, but it won't stay that way if we lose our frontline police. The Labour government invested in the police, increasing police numbers and introducing the police community support officers (PCSOs), and crime fell as a result.
Now, thanks to the government's cuts, that progress is under threat.
Neighbourhood policing has been a real success. It reassures local people to see police officers out and about. It enables police officers to build relationships with local people, ensuring a better flow of information about crime and anti social behaviour that means more criminals get caught. Visible policing can help build trust between the police and the community.
But trust is a really big issue. There are tensions between some groups and the police. Young people, especially from ethnic minority backgrounds, can feel they don't get treated fairly. There is huge anger around stop and search.
Over the next few weeks, Labour's candidate for the new Police and Crime Commissioner role in Greater Manchester, Tony Lloyd, Labour council group leader Dave Acton , and I will be out about, meeting local residents to talk about the impact of the cuts to frontline policing, and your priorities for our police. We want to hear the views of all different sections of our community about the kind of policing that's important to you.
And Tony, Dave and I will be challenging the Tories about the cuts. Ministers said there wouldn't be any impact on frontline police numbers. Now we know that isn't true.
The other major issue locally is the future design of hospital services at Trafford General. Hundreds of local people participated in last Saturday's march and rally, organised by the Save Trafford General campaign, to show their concerns about our NHS.
This week, Paul Goggins, MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East, and I, spoke in a special debate in parliament, to demand assurances from the Health Minister about the plans. You can read the debate at: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm120710/halltext/120710h0002.htm#12071064000452 We have to do better for people in Trafford when it comes to looking after everyone's health. It's a scandal where you live determines how long you live: in the poorest parts of my constituency, men's life expectancy is 11 years lower than in the richest areas in the south of the borough. For women, the difference is at least 6 years.
We can do a lot to prevent the most common illnesses in Trafford (stroke, cardiac and respiratory illness, diabetes, cancer), keep people out of hospital for longer, and get them home to recover more quickly when a hospital stay is necessary.
But that requires significant investment in community and primary healthcare services, and my top priority is to make sure the investment is guaranteed.
In the debate, I challenged the Minister about that, and asked him to confirm that any savings from reduced hospital admissions will be reinvested in frontline care.
I want guarantees of progress on integrating council social care and NHS services in Trafford. We've been talking about this for years. It's time to stop talking and get on with the job.
We also have some great voluntary and community groups - like the Stroke Association, the Alzheimer's Society, and the Macmillan cancer centre - who help support people coping with serious illness, and reduce pressure on the NHS.
They also need guarantees of funding, and I'll be pressing Trafford Council and NHS managers about that.
People understand that things can't stay as they are in Trafford. But change must enhance, not diminish, the healthcare that my constituents need.