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Greater Manchester Police taken out of special measures

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Greater Manchester Police has been removed from special measures after being deemed as ‘the most improved force in the country’.

Chief Constable Stephen Watson will be joined by Mayor Andy Burnham today to announce that the force has been removed by His Majesty’s Inspectorate from special measures and is no longer required to be in the Inspectorate’s engage monitoring process.

The Chief Constable has thanked officers and staff for their continued professionalism, dedication, and faith in the plan he originally set out back in June 2021 to improve the force.

HM’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Andy Cooke, said: “I am pleased with the progress that GMP has made so far. 

“Whilst there is still more to do, I have decided to remove the force from our enhanced level of monitoring, known as Engage, and return it to routine monitoring.”

Chief Constable Stephen Watson added: “Our route into ‘Special Measures’ has been thoroughly analysed and much discussed. There are several reasons as to how we came to bear our recent travails, a failure of leadership principle amongst them.

“As I have stated repeatedly however, the fundamental failing was simply that we stopped doing the basics well, we stopped being the police and we stopped doing many of the things that our public have every right to expect.

“I have, however, been given ample evidence to assert that our recent difficulties do not bear a true reflection of the commitment, professionalism and courage that are so abundantly to be found amongst the officers and staff of GMP.”

GMP was placed under special measures in 2020 after it was found the force had failed to record 80,000 crimes.

Inspectors took the action after a damning report published in December that year found the force’s service to victims of crime was also a ‘serious cause of concern’.

When Stephen Watson joined the force as chief constable in May 2021 – replacing Ian Hopkins, who stepped down after being placed into special measures – he vowed to quit if it was not a ‘demonstrably better place’ within two years.

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‘Tourist tax’ for visitors staying in Manchester to be introduced next year

Do you think it’s a good idea?

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The Lowry Hotel / Manchester's Finest Group

Tourists visiting Manchester will have to pay a charge from April next year, if they’re staying in the city centre.

The new ‘tax’ is being implemented to fund a business improvement district group in our city to boost tourism.

The new district will be known as the Manchester Accommodation Business Improvement District (ABID).

The aim of the ABID will be to ‘improve the visitor experience’ to Manchester city centre and ‘support the growth of the visitor economy’ during the next five years.

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Tourists who have to pay the new city centre fee will be charged £1 per night.

According to the Manchester Evening News, around 74 hotels and serviced short-stay apartments will charge visitors the fee, which is predicted to raise around £4 million annually.

Bev Craig, the leader of Manchester City Council, said: “These are exciting times for Manchester city centre with an unprecedented number of new hotel rooms being added and major new visitor attractions such as Factory International and Co-op Live due to open in the months ahead.

“Seizing that opportunity means ensuring as many rooms as possible are full all year round. We believe that targeted investment through the Manchester ABID will help support the accommodation sector – which plays such a vital role in supporting jobs in our city and adding to its overall vibrancy – to thrive.”

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Adrian Ellis, General Manager of the Lowry Hotel and chair of the Manchester Hoteliers’ Association, added: “The Manchester Hoteliers’ Association has been in discussion for several years to develop options to create new, additional funding that will support continued high performance and future growth of the visitor economy for accommodation providers across the city.

“The result of these discussions is the Manchester Accommodation Business Improvement District proposal, and I am delighted that hoteliers’ have voted in favour of creating an innovative, business-led solution to some of the problems we have been facing as a sector.

“A supplementary fee for guests, added to the final accommodation bill, is now an established norm within the travel sector across the world, and the Manchester ABID will now bring our accommodation sector in line with European and global counterparts and competitors.”

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According to bosses at the ABID, the money made from the scheme will be used for marketing the city as a destination.

It will also entice further ‘large-scale events’ like festivals and conferences to come to Manchester during the off-season, as well as increasing the cleanliness of the streets, and ‘improving guest welcome’.

Following the pandemic and various Covid lockdowns, demand to visit Manchester has risen.

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First new UK coal mine in 30 years to open in the North West

Thoughts?

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West Cumbria Mining Company

The government has given permission for the first new UK coal mine in 30 years to open in the North West.

Michael Gove approved the mine despite concerns regarding the climate impacts from both Conservative MPs and experts.

According to the BBC the mine would be located in Cumbria, and would be digging for coking coal to be used in steel production – both in the UK and across the world.

However, critics have said that the new coal mine would undermine climate targets, also pointing out that demand for coking coal is declining.

On the other hand, supporters of the project say it will both create jobs and reduce the UK’s need to import coal.

But supporters claim the mine, near Whitehaven, will create jobs and reduce the need to import coal.

The West Cumbria Mining project – which will be located near Whitehaven – has been in the balance for two years.

The local county council initially approved the mine in 2020, but this approval was suspended in early 2021 before the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow.

The government’s climate change adviser said at the time that the coal mine would increase carbon emissions.

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26-year-old who died in horror crash named as family pay tribute to ‘sensitive soul’

‘Saadat was a much-loved brother, son, and great human being’

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Greater Manchester Police / Google Maps

A 26-year-old man who was killed in a horror crash in Manchester this weekend has been named.

Three others were critically injured in the collision, but have since been confirmed as being in a ‘stable’ condition by police.

The incident occurred on Chancellor Lane around 7am Sunday morning, and within minutes officers had attended the scene.

Greater Manchester Police

The man who sadly passed away has now been named as Saadat Shah, with his family paying tribute to the ‘sensitive soul’.

Saadat’s family said: “Saadat was a much-loved brother, son, and great human being. His life was just starting, and he just came back from Paris for his birthday last week.

“He had so many plans and was going to get married soon. He was very close with all members of his family, and he greatly loved everyone.

“A sensitive soul, he will be dearly missed by everyone forever. RIP.”

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According to police, a car travelling away from the city centre lost control before colliding with a bollard – with no other vehicles involved.

Four men were taken to hospital to be treated, however Saadat sadly passed away despite the best efforts of medics

The other three occupants, aged 23, 24 and 29, suffered ‘life threatening injuries’, however in an update on Monday, December 5th, a Greater Manchester Police spokesperson said the car’s driver was in a ‘critical but stable’ condition.

The vehicle’s two other passengers are also in a stable condition, police said, but both have serious injuries.

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No arrests have been made in relation to the crash, and GMP’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit are still appealing for anyone who may have seen the accident during the early hours to get in touch.

Officers want to speak to anyone who may have footage – including dashcam, mobile phone or CCTV/doorbell footage – from the area in the moments both before and after the crash.

Anyone with information can contact police on 0161 856 4741 quoting incident 713 of 4/12/22, or pass on details via their LiveChat function at www.gmp.police.uk or anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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