Cuts ‘mean local crime-fighting services will be compromised’

YORKSHIRE’S biggest police force fears it will have to make another £11m in savings in the next three years after the Government announced the latest funding settlement.

Minister Damian Green announced that police services will receive £8.5bn in total funding in 2014/15, a 3.3 per cent cut compared with this year’s total.

Local forces had feared the funding settlement would be cut even further this year as the Home Office’s departmental budget was reduced in Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement, but ministers have decided to freeze the settlement at £8.5bn rather than pass on the reductions.

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Despite this, West Yorkshire Police says its funding from the Government in 2014/15 will be 4.8 per cent lower than 2013/14, as more money is now being spent on other police bodies including the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Officials say they will now have to find an extra £11m in savings by 2016/17, meaning the force will have had to cut £154 million from its budget since 2010/11.

West Yorkshire is one of the forces in the country most reliant on central funding because of its low tax base and was earlier this year told it had not responded well to the need to make major savings.

Police and crime commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson, who is responsible for the force’s budget, said the latest reductions “go too far” and “did not recognise the reality of policing on the streets, and the levels of demand faced by forces like West Yorkshire Police”.

He said: “I will do absolutely everything I can to protect jobs, but the level of cuts here already mean that services will be compromised and difficult decisions will have to be made as there are only so many efficiencies that the police force can make and the government keeps on changing the goalposts every year.”

In a statement yesterday, Mr Green said a decision on the 2015/16 police settlement would be made at a later date.

He added: “Our decisions on police funding will provide the police with the resources they need to carry out their important work. We recognise that the funding settlement remains challenging.”