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Specialist policing shake-up tries to save £5 million

Police carsRoads policing in West Yorkshire is set for a major shake-up with 100 members of staff from the operational support division set to be re-assigned due to budget cuts.

Officers who had previously worked in either the roads policing unit, roads crimes team, operational support unit or dog section will be re-trained to be able to cover all areas as the force seeks to save £5 million.

Two new teams are to be formed to cover the west and east of the region from July. Calderdale, Bradford and Wakefield – the west – will be covered by a team of 120 officers (five sergeants and 115 constables) and will be moved from their current base in Carr Gate, Wakefield, to Trafalgar House in Bradford.

The new so-called “Safer Road and Neighbourhood Support Team will ensure there is a closer working relationship between the traffic police and neighbourhood policing teams,” according to the force.

West Yorkshire Assistant Chief Constable Mark Milsom said: “We’re looking to deliver the police services we presently provide with a £20 million budget, with a £15 million budget. I actually think we’ll deliver the same but, more likely, a better service because of the changes we’re making.”

ACC Milsom, in an interview with the Halifax Courier, said: “We’re focusing our priorities around neighbourhood policing and that direct contact between communities, PCs and PCSOs.”

Nick Smart, chairman of West Yorkshire Police Federation, said: “We understand the need to adapt and re structure to operate effectively in the current fiscal climate. Cuts have to be made everywhere and every department has to play its part. It’s a tough operating environment but we get on with keeping communities safe.

“We still have a roads policing team based on east/west of the county. Quality of service is paramount for officers. The daily business will go on. Officers are expected to do more for less. Officers have to be more multi skilled to meet the challenges. Some officers not retained on specialist units will go to districts and bring a wealth of experience with them. They can develop and use their skills to assist junior officers. They will be an asset to the community and strengthen teams.”

Date posted: July 3, 2014

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