Sunday, February 8, 2009

City 'more dangerous than Basra' - Manchester Evening News

Politicians and police in Manchester have laughed off a military commander's comments that the city is more dangerous than Basra.

Major General Andy Salmon, the commander of British troops in Iraq, said violent crime had fallen to such an extent in the country's second city that it was “less dangerous” than Manchester.

Maj Gen Salmon told a newspaper: “On a per-capita basis, if you look at the violence statistics, it is less dangerous than Manchester.”

The comments sparked bemusement from members of the Making Manchester Safer partnership - made up of organisations such as the city council, Greater Manchester Police and the fire and probation services.

A police source said the force's top brass laughed at the Royal Marine Commando's comparison and described it as “nonsense and unrealistic”.

The force did not want to make an official comment but issued figures showing from 1 January 2008 to 16 November 2008 there were 46 murders across the patch.

Police added that a “significant” proportion of those were committed by people who knew their victims.

According to British military estimates, there were 11 murders in Basra last month alone - with only one linked to extremist groups.

Deputy leader of Manchester City Council, councillor Jim Battle, said: “We hold our military personnel in high regard and recognise they are doing a fantastic job.“Making any comparisons with a conflict zone and a British city is not helpful at all.”

Click here for the Manchester Evening News

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