Sorry I haven't posted for a while but I have been suffering from a form of writer's block. I've wanted to write about the tragic deaths of Police Constables Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes but have struggled to find a way of not just expressing the sympathy we all feel for their family, friends and colleagues, of expressing my horror at the viciousness of how they were killed, but also saying something about the contribution they have made. I didn't know either of these two brave officers, but have read about two young women full of energy, full of hope for the future, committed to helping to make Greater Manchester a better place to live for all of us. It was a headline in today's Evening News, " They did not die in vain ", that made me think of a way of recognising that contribution.
Every year the City Council publishes an Annual State of the City report. This year, following the publication of the 2011 census, Council officers are preparing a State of the City report ten years on, comparing Manchester today with the city as it was in 2001 and the report will be published later in the year. The report is still in draft but there will be a section in about making communities safer. The figures are quite remarkable. Between 2002/3 and 2010/11 serious acquisitive crime in Manchester fell by 70%. Between 2001 and 2011 all victim-based crime fell by a third. Over the same period the annual rate of violent crime fell from 21.4 incidents for each thousand population to 16.7 incidents per thousand. Of course this is not all down to better policing, but is irrefutable evidence that over the past decade, Greater Manchester Police working with Councils and communities have made our city a safer place and a better people. That's what Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes spent their working lives doing, what they were doing the day they died and the evidence shows it is something they and their colleagues were doing increasingly successfully. They will be remembered in many ways, but one of the ways we can all remember them is by ensuring that in another ten years Manchester is an even safer place still.