Road policing specialists go back on the beat in shake-up at force

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ONE hundred specialist roads and public order police officers will be re-assigned to local neighbourhood teams as part of a restructure at the region’s biggest force.

West Yorkshire Police is cutting its operational support budget from £20 million to £15 million a year, meaning the number of officers employed will drop from around 400 to 300.

The remaining officers will no longer concentrate just on policing the roads or keeping order at major events or weekends, as from next month they will be part of two “multi-specialist teams” in the East and West of the county.

The two teams of five sergeants and 115 constables each, working on a five-shift system, will mostly focus on dealing with public order on Fridays and Saturdays and tackling crime on the roads for the rest of the week.

All officers in the units were forced to re-apply for their own jobs earlier this year.

The 81 constables, 14 sergeants and five inspectors who missed out will return to ‘neighbourhood policing teams’ in their districts in the latest move to boost the force’s local police presence by reducing the size of specialist teams.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Milsom said officers who remained in the Safer Road and Neighbourhood Support Teams would become proficient in several areas rather than just one.

He said: “We are losing a lot of people to preserve neighbourhood policing and PCSO numbers. It is a loss but because we have broke down those functionality barriers much more, and can be flexible about what our officers are doing, we feel we will be in many ways more effective as we will be more focused.”

Tracey Hepworth, 47, from Pudsey, a road safety campaigner for charity Brake whose fiancé was killed near Junction 25 of the M62 after an HGV driver fell asleep at the wheel, said she hoped the “drastic cuts do not have an impact on roads deaths”.