THE Prime Minister defended her record on policing in an exclusive interview with The Bolton News.

This comes as the region’s police force has lost around 2,000 officers in the last decade.

Greater Manchester Police chief constable Ian Hopkins said although there had been a rise in police funding from council tax, 80 per cent of the force’s budget was made up of government grants, which have been cut.

Mrs May said: “Yes, government had to make some difficult decisions in recent years. We’re now, as we say, in a position where we are able to bring that end to austerity. But government had to make difficult decisions because of the state of the public finances we were left by the last Labour government.

“We had to address that. We’ve done that. We now have much stronger public finances that enable us to put more money into our public services. We’ve been protecting police budgets since 2015.”

The former Home Secretary said that over £1 billion more is available to police forces around the country.

But her comments follow the news that 60 per cent of reported crimes in Greater Manchester are “screened out” and not fully investigated.

Yesterday, Bolton police chief, Superintendent Rick Jackson, revealed on BBC Radio Manchester that at any one time, there are 2,000 active investigations.

The Prime Minister was asked whether she is concerned by these figures.

She said: “We expect crimes to be investigated. The nature of crime has been changing, the nature of policing has been changing and what we’ve seen in recent years in certain areas, is more people willing to come forward and report crimes and that’s important in some key areas such as domestic violence and serious sexual exploitation.

“These are crimes that have often gone unseen and people’s concerns and people’s sufferings have gone unheard. People now feel better able to report those crimes and that’s important.”

Bolton councillor Nick Peel said: “Britain is facing a growing problem of knife crime amongst young people, and the cuts to both frontline policing and youth work is only adding to the crime problem in out town and in our country.”