West Yorkshire crime tsar warns that police cuts ‘go too far’

Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire Mark Burns-Williamson.
Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire Mark Burns-Williamson.
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Fresh multi-million pound cuts to police funding show a failure by government to recognise the reality of policing on the streets, according to the crime tsar for West Yorkshire.

Government funding to all police forces will be cut by £299 million - 4.9 per cent - to £8.19 billion in 2015/16, Mike Penning, the Policing Minister, said in a written statement.

It means West Yorkshire Police has to make savings of more than £33.8m next year, on top of £103m already made in the last three years.

Mark Burns-Williamson, the force’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said he would try to protect jobs but conceded that difficult decisions will have to be made given the severity of the latest cuts.

“These continued and relentless cuts are deep and damaging and go too far,” he said. “This money needs to go towards frontline policing to help people feel safe, not Government grants to other organisations.

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

The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners warned that maintaining a strong front line presence will be “much more challenging”, while Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association Chief Police officers, said a small number of police forces were already close to experiencing financial difficulty.

However, the Policing Minister, Mr Penning, said: “Police reform is working and crime has fallen by more than a fifth under this Government, according to the independent Crime Survey for England and Wales.”