“We are down 20% down in staff, that’s roughly 1,200 officers, and to say it’s had no effect on frontline policing is just a nonsense.”
That was the message from West Yorkshire Police Federation Chairman Nick Smart after taking in the views from politicians of all parties at the Annual Police Federation of England and Wales Conference.
“There is a crisis in policing, make no mistake,” said Nick. “And that is down to underfunding and lack of cops, and chief constables up and down the country are robbing Peter to pay Paul on a daily basis.”
Home Secretary Amber Rudd was asked on a number of occasions to increase funding or decrease police demand should the Conservative Party be re-elected, but she repeatedly said the responsibility for officer numbers was with chief constables.
Nick challenged the Home Secretary in a question and answer session after her speech to conference.
Nick added: “And I wasn’t prepared just to sit there and not challenge that view.
“It’s not just West Yorkshire that’s suffering, the service is broken nationally. Chief constables are speaking out, we wish more of them would do it more vocally on occasion. But the loudest voice is the Federation.”
He challenged Ms Rudd to travel to West Yorkshire on a “surprise visit” to see the reality of what his members face every day – to which she agreed.
Speaking afterwards, Nick concluded: “Fair play to her for saying she would come if she was elected. She’s agreed to come up with us to see West Yorkshire. I think she’s got a lot of learning to do and I think the advice that she’s getting from some quarters is clearly not the right advice because it’s not painting a true picture of what policing is like.”
Date posted: May 22, 2017