West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner backs county’s Police Federation’s #CutsHaveConsequences Campaign (3 Feb 2015)

West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson has echoed concerns raised by the county's Police Federation about how severe and sustained Government cuts are risking frontline policing.

The Federation today launched their campaign #CutsHaveConsequences with a stark video showing how devastating £163 million of Government cuts by 2017 will be to WYP, which is a 40per cent reduction from the original budget.

It comes just days before Mr Burns-Williamson will be putting his budget proposals for 2015/16 before the Police and Crime Panel to increase the police element of the council tax by 1.99 per cent to pay for recruiting 82 new police officers against a back-drop of significant government cuts to the police core grant in West Yorks.

The proposed rise will cost taxpayers less than four pence extra a week.

But Mr Burns-Williamson warned: "I welcome the Federation highlighting to Government how serious these cuts are impacting their members and hope the Government will sit up and take notice of #CutsHaveConsequences campaign from officers on the front-line.

"Since being elected, working with council leaders, I have protected frontline policing over three years.

"But I have continually raised with the Home Secretary and others, including the budget briefing I recently provided for West Yorkshire MPs, that going forward the level of cuts we are experiencing here mean that protecting the frontline at the current level will become unsustainable.

"Although it will be good news if we can recruit these extra officers if the precept is agreed on Friday, as the Federation quite rightly point out with their campaign, we have lost nearly 1,000 officers over the past five years, so this recruitment will be a small step in lessening the impact of many more leaving the service and threatening the demise of the Neighbourhood Policing model that has been so successful with our communities.

"As I have raised previously, WYP get penalised more than other forces (approx £11m on average per year) because 80 per cent of our budget comes from central Government funding and the disproportionate way it is allocated and then top-sliced for other organisations increased by 96% in 2015/16, hitting West Yorkshire, an area of the greatest need even harder.

"I will continue to do absolutely everything I can to protect jobs, but the severe level of central cuts here already mean that services will be compromised and difficult decisions will have to be made.
"I want to reassure communities that we will continue to do all we can to make them feel safer working ever closer with our partners, and will continually consult with communities across West Yorkshire to understand their needs and concerns and make sure their priorities are reflected in the Police and Crime Plan.

"As I have said before, there are only so many efficiencies that the police force can make, with officer and staff numbers continually dropping as the government keeps on changing the goalposts every year and potentially putting communities at more risk by not recognising the wider policing challenges.

"I am not prepared to take a risk when it comes to protecting our communities and police service over the coming years and would urge those concerned about the cuts to make their views on policing cuts known, the Police Federation and their members who I talk to regularly are very well placed to do that."


© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2019