“Driven into the ground and struggling” – that is the reality for West Yorkshire Police Officers out on the front line, according to West Yorkshire Police Federation Chairman Brian Booth.
The force has lost 621 officers since 2010, when Government-led austerity measures bit down on public spending.
Forces across England and Wales have 20,564 fewer officers than they did nine years ago.
The ripple effects of the cuts have now turned into a tidal wave, with the impact being felt at the sharp end of policing.
According to Brian, it means officers are struggling to cope with backlogs of work.
He said: “The reality for us is we’re still suffering with demand issues. We’ve got the summer, we’ve had Extinction Rebellion visiting West Yorkshire, into Leeds. That’s placed significant demand on my already overworked colleagues.
“We are really struggling with meeting demand because in West Yorkshire there’s a lot of exigencies of duty, so officers are having their rest days cancelled, they’re getting their shifts altered at last minute, just to try and cope with everyday demand.”
Brian said more boots on the ground would help release some of the pressure, and he is hopeful new Prime Minister Boris Johnson will stand by his promise to deliver increase numbers to overstretched forces where officers are ‘breaking’.
Brian added: “It’s real tough, the frontline at the moment. I’m hoping now that we’ve got Boris Johnson coming forward, telling us we’re going to get more cops, that they’re going to come over this hill and give us some much-needed respite to my colleagues.
“Primarily it is down to police numbers. There are just too many jobs to do for too few cops. There are backlogs of work.
“This isn’t going to be fixed overnight with a load of new cops coming over the horizon, but it will certainly send us in the right direction. We’ve got significant challenges.
“Just when officers want a bit of breathing space, we’re getting none. They are driven into the ground and they are struggling. They’ve been struggling for a long time. We are seeing a significant number of our officers breaking, and it’s heart-breaking to see.”
Date posted: August 21, 2019