West Yorkshire’s PCC gets support from MPs in bid to secure more Government funding after Westminster meeting (15 Nov 2017)

Mark Burns-Williamson met with MPs on Tuesday evening where he urged them to join him in calling for more sustained funding from the Government.

Mr Burns-Williamson said that all MPs who attended the meeting at Portcullis House in Westminster offered their support generally for more funding for West Yorkshire in advance of the budget on November 22.

Mr Burns-Williamson said: "Since 2010/11 funding for West Yorkshire has reduced by over 36% in real terms and we have seen significant increases in complex demands during this time, including domestic abuse, missing people, serious sexual offences and cyber-crime. Furthermore, the latest publication by the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) estimates a 7% increase in fraud offences in West Yorkshire, over half of which are cyber related.

"The pressure this has put the police under as forces like ours try to protect frontline policing and find efficiencies elsewhere is significant and, in today's context, unsustainable without more resources.

"That is why Tuesday's meeting was so important to ensure we have a cross-party approach wherever possible for more funding as our communities need more resources, not less and I urged MPs to join me in making the case for a fairer funding deal for West Yorkshire for 2018/19 in the form of a new police settlement.

"I was reassured to see such cross-party attendance to ensure we are working collectively to help our communities feel safe.

"Since 2010 we have also seen a 20% reduction in workforce, against a backdrop of a 30% increase in recorded crime and a 7% increase in calls for service.

"Monies that would have been allocated to forces are now taken up by the Transformation Fund which has £175m in this year over which there is minimal influence at a local level.

"Forces have to bid for that money which is not guaranteed funding. The money raised by the precept was used to protect PCSO numbers and recruit constables to replace some of those we had lost.

"Our reserves in 2012/13 were £ 58.7 million and the usable reserves as at 31 March 2017 were £ 95.055 million.

"Reserves increased during that time as a result of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of the Constabulary, Fire & Rescue (HMICF&RS) previously criticising West Yorkshire Police for utilising reserves to ease budget pressures rather than making sustainable budget reductions.

"That is why a medium term strategy was put in place for the use of the reserves that allows for investment in technology, transforming the back office and continual investment in partnership opportunities.

"So by 2022, as I have stressed previously, the £95million reduces to £32 million, of which £30million is ring-fenced to allow for PFI payments, insurance and unforeseen circumstances based on threat, harm and risk.

"I reiterate that the price we will pay for an under-resourced police service in West Yorkshire is too high.

"I warned the region's fellow politicians at our meeting in Westminster and was reassured that they share my concerns and will join me in making the case for a fairer funding deal for West Yorkshire in the 2018/19 police settlement.

"The only way that we will meet the challenges that we face is for more central investment in local police forces and I remain committed to doing everything I can with partners to support West Yorkshire Police who work so hard day in day out to keep people safe."

© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2019