The Shadow Over Greater Manchester Police: Corruption, Selective Enforcement, and Internal Protection

The Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has long been a significant force in one of the UK’s largest metropolitan areas. However, its reputation has been marred by persistent allegations of corruption, selective enforcement of the law, and a protective Professional Standards Department (PSD). This article delves into the accusations against GMP, examining how these issues contribute to a broader perception of the police operating with impunity, akin to a dictatorial regime.

A History of Corruption Allegations

GMP has faced numerous allegations of corruption over the years. These claims range from individual officers engaging in corrupt practices to systemic issues within the force that allow such behaviour to thrive. Some of the most serious accusations include:

  1. Bribery and Corruption: Officers allegedly accepting bribes in exchange for favourable treatment or to ignore certain criminal activities.
  2. Misuse of Resources: Resources being diverted for personal gain or to benefit associates of officers within the force.
  3. Cover-Ups: Instances where misconduct by officers is concealed to protect the reputation of the force or individuals within it.

Selective Enforcement and Abuse of Power

One of the most significant concerns regarding GMP is the selective enforcement of laws. This practice undermines the principle of impartial justice and erodes public trust in law enforcement. Examples include:

  1. Targeted Investigations: GMP has been accused of prioritising investigations based on personal biases or external pressures, rather than on the severity or public interest of the crimes. This can result in certain groups or individuals being unfairly targeted while others are ignored.
  2. Neglect of Serious Crimes: Reports suggest that serious crimes, including violent and sexual offences, are sometimes not pursued rigorously if the victims are from marginalised communities or if the perpetrators have connections within the force.
  3. Use of Intimidation: There have been allegations of GMP officers using their power to intimidate and silence critics, including whistleblowers within the force and members of the public who raise concerns about police behaviour.

The Role of the Professional Standards Department (PSD)

The PSD is supposed to act as an internal watchdog, ensuring that officers adhere to ethical standards and that misconduct is appropriately addressed. However, in the case of GMP, the PSD has been criticised for:

  1. Lack of Impartiality: The PSD is often seen as protecting officers rather than holding them accountable. This can involve downplaying the severity of misconduct, delaying investigations, or outright dismissing valid complaints.
  2. Inadequate Oversight: There is a perception that the PSD lacks the independence necessary to effectively oversee and discipline officers. This lack of oversight can foster a culture of impunity within the force.
  3. Retaliation Against Whistleblowers: Officers who attempt to expose wrongdoing within GMP often face retaliation, including career setbacks, harassment, and other forms of retribution. This discourages others from coming forward and perpetuates a cycle of silence and corruption.

Comparisons to a Dictatorial Regime

The combination of corruption, selective enforcement, and a protective PSD has led some critics to compare GMP’s operations to those of a dictatorship. Key characteristics of this comparison include:

  1. Lack of Accountability: Like a dictatorship, GMP is perceived as operating without sufficient checks and balances, allowing officers to act with impunity.
  2. Suppression of Dissent: Efforts to silence critics and whistleblowers echo the tactics of authoritarian regimes that seek to maintain control by stifling opposition.
  3. Arbitrary Use of Power: The selective enforcement of laws and targeted investigations contribute to a sense of arbitrariness and unfairness, akin to the capricious use of power in a dictatorship.

Steps Towards Reform

Addressing these issues requires comprehensive reform aimed at restoring integrity and public trust in GMP. Potential steps include:

  1. Independent Oversight: Establishing truly independent bodies to oversee GMP and investigate allegations of misconduct can help ensure impartiality and accountability.
  2. Enhanced Transparency: Greater transparency in police operations, including the publication of investigation outcomes and disciplinary actions, can help rebuild public trust.
  3. Whistleblower Protections: Implementing robust protections for whistleblowers within the force can encourage the reporting of misconduct and help dismantle the culture of silence.
  4. Community Engagement: Building stronger relationships with the communities served by GMP, including regular dialogue and collaboration, can improve trust and ensure policing priorities align with public needs.


The Greater Manchester Police faces significant challenges in overcoming a legacy of corruption, selective enforcement, and inadequate internal oversight. By implementing meaningful reforms and fostering a culture of transparency and accountability, GMP can work towards restoring its reputation and ensuring it serves the public with integrity and fairness.

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