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PCC slams “deep and damaging” cuts to West Yorkshire Police

Mark Burns-WilliamsonRelentless, severe and continued cuts by the Government to West Yorkshire Police budgets have been criticised by the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire.

The Home Office police grant figures released mean that West Yorkshire Police has to find more than £33.8million in savings next year, on top of the £103m already made in the last three years, PCC Mark Burns-Williamson (pictured) said.

The overall cut by 2015/16 is £137.5m with a further cut of 5.1per cent which equates to £33.8million of savings needing to be found over the next 12 months.

The overall level of cuts needed by 2016/17 is now forecast at around £163.5million, a £1.5million jump from what was previously forecast only recently.

Mr Burns-Williamson slammed the latest cuts which he said did not recognise the reality of policing on the streets, and the levels of demand faced by forces like West Yorkshire Police.

“These continued and relentless cuts are deep and damaging and go too far,” he said.

“West Yorkshire’s share of top slicing the core budget equates to more than £1million in 2015/16 and this is much more than anticipated and I feel we are being penalised yet again. This money needs to go towards frontline policing to help people feel safe, not Government grants to other organisations.

“The top slicing nationally includes a further £20m for the Home Office Innovation Fund, £5m for the Police Knowledge Fund, and an increase of £12m for the IPCC.

“Nationally £15m has been top sliced for the Police Special Grant which supports police forces facing unplanned and unexpected additional pressures which would include costs of demonstrations such as the ones by the English Defence League.

“I asked for a refund of £759,000 from the Police Special Grant for an EDL demonstration and it was refused, so that special grant has not helped us in our time of need despite West Yorkshire being one of the biggest contributors.

“In spite of repeatedly pointing out the unfairness of the way cuts are made by Government, every force area continues to get the same percentage reduction in grant irrespective of need, demand and threats.

“West Yorkshire relies much more heavily on government grant, which pays for around 80per cent of our spending. We are therefore hit much harder by the cuts than other areas which equates to millions every year.

“I will continue to do absolutely everything I can to protect jobs, but the severe level of cuts here already mean that services will be compromised and difficult decisions will have to be made.

“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.”

Date posted: December 19, 2014

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