Labour says police commissioners are fighting anti-social behaviour with 'one hand tied behind their back'

Police and crime commissioners have had “one hand tied behind their back” when it comes to fighting anti-social behaviour because of Government cuts, according to the Shadow Home Secretary.

More than 35,500 incidents of antisocial behaviour were recorded in Batley and Spen between 2011 and 2020, according to figures analysed by Labour ahead of this week's by-election.

However, during this period the number of antisocial behaviour incidents in the West Yorkshire constituency per year were almost halved, from 4,666 in 2011 to 2,383 in 2020.

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More than 35,500 incidents of antisocial behaviour were recorded in Batley and Spen between 2011 and 2020, according to figures analysed by Labour ahead of this week's by-election. Stock image of Batley high street.

The figures also suggest that antisocial behaviour fell as a proportion of overall crime from a high of 42 per cent in 2013 to 16 per cent in 2019 and 18 per cent in 2020.

West Yorkshire Police, like many others around the country, has seen severe cuts to its funding since the start of austerity measures in 2010. Officers were warned last year that further significant savings would have to be made.

Nationwide thousands of extra police officers have been recruited since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister but critics say this will only return forces to the levels they were at before the cuts started.

In West Yorkshire, metro mayor Tracy Brabin has taken on the powers over policing that were previously held by Labour crime commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson.

Labour's Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas Symonds told The Yorkshire Post: "I’m afraid the Labour police and crime commissioners have had one hand tied behind their back all the time they’ve been in office by the cuts to funding that have happened to our police.

"It’s not the fault in any sense of frontline police officers who do a fantastic job, but what’s happened is that we’ve left this description of so-called low level crime. That’s the consequence of a decade of Conservative cuts.

"It isn’t low level crime, it is crime that is making a difference and blighting the lives of people here and around the country.

"That money that is supposed to be earmarked to go for this vanity yacht project should be being pumped into communities to deal with this issue of antisocial behaviour."

The Home Office and West Yorkshire Police have been approached for comment.

A Home Office spokesperson, said: “We recognise the devastating impact that anti-social behaviour can have on individuals and communities. This Government is ensuring the police, local authorities and other agencies have powers to quickly and effectively respond.

“The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 provides a range of tools and powers to respond quickly and effectively to these incidents. This includes the Community Trigger which is an important safety net in ensuring that the voices of victims of persistent anti-social behaviour are heard.

“It is for local areas decide how best to deploy these powers depending on the specific circumstances.”