Following the announcement yesterday by GMP DCC Ian Hopkins regarding ongoing planning for the funerals of PC’s Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes at Manchester Cathedral next week, and the subsequent announcement that GMP will only be requesting a two nominated officers from each police force to #CoverForGMP, I am moving to ‘Plan B’, otherwise known as OPERATION DEANSGATE.
There are sound operational reasons why GMP have been unable to take up our kind offers to cover the streets of Manchester whilst their own officers paid their respects and these, we cannot argue with I’m afraid.
However, we can, and must, still ‘do our bit’. – Over 5,000 police officers, staff and members of the public pledged their support for #CoverForGMP on Facebook and Twitter in the days following the horrific cold-blooded murders of our two colleagues Fiona and Nicola.
These are everyday people, so shocked, alarmed and distressed about what happened on the streets of Manchester on September the 18th that they, like myself, feel the need to pay our respects and to honour the memory of PC’s Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes.
We ALL need to show Fiona and Nicola’s families, their friends and colleagues at GMP, and the wider community of Manchester and indeed the whole country, that we all stand together, united in our grief and bewilderment at last weeks awful events.
To that end, this is the plan, and it’s very simple :
The funeral of PC Nicola Hughes will take place at 13.00 hours (1.00pm) on Wednesday 3rd October
The funeral of PC Fiona Bone will take place at 10.00 hours (10.00am) on Thursday 4th October
Both funerals will take place at Manchester Cathedral, Victoria Street, Manchester M3 1SX
I want as many people as possible to make their way to Manchester on either or both of the days. Over 5,000 people initially said YES to #CoverForGMP. I appreciate a number of these volunteers will be unable to attend due to work commitments, but if you are available, please make every possible effort to be there. We need to show Fiona and Nicola’s families very strongly what the loss of two police officers means to us all and that we are there to support them in any way we can.
Please make your way to DEANSGATE, MANCHESTER, between the areas of Quay Sreet, near the Great Northern Amphitheatre – postcode M3 4EN, and the MEN Arena and Victoria Railway Station – postcode M3 1AR, as early in the day as possible. From there people will be directed and assisted by GMP staff.
Police Officers can wear uniform even if off duty (confirmed by GMP). If you have a tunic, or can beg, borrow or otherwise acquire one please do so – this is the preferred dress. If not, police fleeces are the secondary option (should be zipped up to the chequered line).
Please wear white shirt and tie if possible as opposed to black operational shirts. Also if off duty, DO NOT wear utility belts or PPE, and especially do not carry batons, handcuffs or CS, Pepper, Pava or similar spray with you.
Police staff should have no problem either wearing uniform on the day/s but please check with your own force if unsure.
Members of the general public are asked to dressed according to the occasion.
I am fully aware of the general mood and low levels of morale in the police service at the moment, and I am no different to anyone else in that respect, but this is not an opportunity for political point scoring or ‘having a go’ at senior police officers or politicians. Please do not wear clothing with controversial or offensive comments on. There will be plenty of time for action on other matters at a more relevant time.
We are there to honour two murdered police officers and that can be our only focus.
There will be an overwhelming amount of media coverage on the day and many, many journalists will be eager to speak with mourners and gain their opinions and views. If you feel uneasy talking to the press, please direct them to either the official Greater Manchester Police or GMP Federation Media Officers, the details of which they WILL have. Any none immediate press enquiries can be fielded off to myself and I will put them in contact with the most appropriate person.
To echo the words of Ian Hanson, Chairman of the Greater Manchester Police Federation:
We want to make these two funerals events that Manchester will never forget, and which will show the families that every police officer in the country is there with them
To do that we would encourage any colleague who is available to come to Manchester and line the route of each funeral procession next Wednesday and Thursday.
There will be ample room for all. It does not matter what uniform you wear, it’s about being there.
GMP Federation also wish to point out that this is not a formal event being organised by Greater Manchester Police or the Federation. They are making colleagues from around the country aware of what GMP officers are doing with regard to the funerals with an open invitation for others to join them on the day to pay their respects and remember the lives of PC’s Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes.
Trains & Buses:
I know early on there was suggestion that Virgin Trains & National Express were going to provide transport for police officers wishing to attend the funerals. I understand both companies were in contact with GMP direct but have not yet had any update from either side as to whether any such arrangements have been finalised.
The nearest railway station to the Cathedral and Deansgate is Manchester Victoria – literally a few minutes walk away. There is also a tram service from Manchester Piccadilly to Victoria Station.
There are many car parks in and around Manchester City Centre but they can fill up quickly and can be very pricey so I am informed.
The best car park to use is the huge 24 hour one on the site of the old Boddingtons Brewery where you can park for £3.00 all day !
This car park is at the very end of Victoria Street (continuation of Deansgate) and at its junction with Trinity Way, opposite the M.E.N. Arena and again, only a few minutes walk from the Cathedral.
The address for this car park is 32 Great Ducie Street, M60 3WB
GMP should hopefully have location maps available on Monday which will also be available on this site.
More information to follow ….