City seeks to protect funds for fighting crime

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LABOUR councillors have urged North Yorkshire’s newly-elected Police and Crime Commissioner to ensure crime-fighting resources are maintained in one of the nation’s most popular tourism destinations.

The Conservative’s candidate, Julia Mulligan, was elected to the new role of the county’s commissioner last month, and is charged with setting the annual policing budget and priorities for North Yorkshire.

The Labour administration of York Council has now urged her to ensure enough resources are made available in the city, which witnesses about two-fifths of all crime in North Yorkshire.

A motion will be put forward at a full council meeting on Thursday which will seek to garner the Commissioner’s support, especially for a forthcoming crime summit centred on tackling the issue of alcohol misuse and binge-drinking.

The council’s Cabinet member for crime and stronger communities, Coun Dafydd Williams, said crime has fallen in York by 10 per cent year-on-year since Labour won the local elections in 2011, but he warned the trend could be undermined by cuts in funding from the Government.

He added: “Around 40 per cent of crimes across the commissioner’s area take place in York, so it’s critically important that we have the resourcing to tackle crime in a meaningful way. We are doing well, but this cannot be jeopardised by funding cuts, in particular to frontline policing and Police Community Support Officers.

“We have already lost frontline officers as a result of Government cuts, so we are saying losing even more will impact the ability locally to fight crime and anti-social behaviour.”

The need to contain crime is seen as vital to ensuring York’s tourism industry is preserved. The city’s visitors are responsible for bringing £443m into the local economy each year.

Mrs Mulligan told the Yorkshire Post that work is underway to prepare a policing blueprint, and a public consultation on the proposals is expected to be staged in February next year.

She added: “The safety of visitors to York is fundamental to its future success, and I would urge all interested parties to contribute to the policing plan which is being drawn up. The city is a major destination, and every effort will be made to ensure that adequate resources are made available. But there is a need to ensure that these resources are balanced across the whole of North Yorkshire, and not just York itself.”