Police and Crime Commissioner welcomes report into West Yorkshire Police’s preparedness for more budget cuts (20 Oct 2015)

The West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, has welcomed a report into West Yorkshire Police's preparedness for more budget cuts, but urged the Government to stop gambling with public safety.

The HMIC (her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary) PEEL report into efficiency in West Yorkshire gave the service two 'good' judgements: 'how does the force use its resources to meet demands' and 'how sustainable is the force's financial position for the short and long term' as well as an outstanding judgement in 'how sustainable and affordable is the workforce model'.

The West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, said:

"On the face of it this is a very positive report for West Yorkshire Police and it is certainly better to have two 'good' judgements and an 'outstanding' one than have negative grades.

"A lot of hard work has gone into obtaining these judgements from the HMIC and I congratulate and recognise West Yorkshire Police for all the hard yards that have been put in to gain these judgements.

"But this report must not be allowed to hide the massive gamble the Government is taking with public safety by drastically cutting policing budgets.

"It is in that context of reducing budgets (West Yorkshire Police's budget will have reduced by over 30% in 2016/17 - with the Comprehensive Spending Review in November expected to reveal another set of cuts as high as another 40%) that West Yorkshire Police is having to prepare for.

"I take little satisfaction in knowing that we are well prepared for the massive burden of the extra cuts coming our way.

"These cuts mean people have and will continue to lose their jobs and mean that the job of ensuring the communities we serve are safer and feel safer will be increasingly difficult with less resources available."

"There are some obvious areas where more cuts could come from and if we implemented them then we might have had an 'outstanding' judgement for how sustainable the force's financial position is for the short and long term. By implementing them, however, we would risk public safety and in that sense it misses the point.

"There has, for example, been a lot of talk in the media recently about drastically reducing or doing away entirely with PCSOs (Police Community Support Officers). If we did so we would save money. But they are a vital part of community safety and I have pledged that as long as I am the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire then they will remain a key part of the neighbourhood policing model, even if some of the numbers are reduced."

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