HMIC welcomes progress made by West Yorkshire Police (12 Dec 2013)

A revisit by an independent inspecting body has welcomed progress made by West Yorkshire Police in making changes to ensure communities are safer and feel safer.

The Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) report 'Valuing the Police' found last July that West Yorkshire Police had not identified sufficient savings to close the funding gap, was placing too great a reliance on the use of reserves to balance the budget and had not grasped the opportunities to transform.

These criticisms led to a review of the police service across West Yorkshire by the Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson and the Chief Constable, Mark Gilmore.

But now, just four months later, a revisit by the HMIC has welcomed that the reliance on reserves has dropped significantly from £31million to £7 million and that the organisational and cultural Programme of Change is grasping the opportunities to transform policing and improve performance in West Yorkshire.

Savings of at least £143million are needed by 2017, meaning a 26 per cent reduction in the budget since 2010 and both the Chief Constable and the Police and Crime Commissioner are looking at how to save money and work more closely with others to protect frontline policing and provide a better service to people across the county.

Mr Burns-Williamson said: "We have been reviewing every part of the police service and by working smarter but also smarter together with other forces we have made significant savings.

"HMIC had told us that we had not identified sufficient savings to close the funding gap, but we have now achieved that following some rigorous work.

"We have gone from potentially using £31million of reserves in July to balance the books, to just £7million now by looking at where we spend that money and how.

"This gap has been closed without significantly affecting frontline policing and freeing up these reserves gives us the opportunity to invest in initiatives to meet the outcomes in the Police and Crime Plan.

"We are currently looking at how best to use these one-off resources to reduce demand, cut costs and improve efficiency by integrated partnership working.

"With the government cutting over a quarter of our budget and making severe cuts to public services across the county we need to all work better together and I will continue to work with communities, partners and the Chief Constable to make sure our communities are safer and feel safer."

Chief Constable Mark Gilmore said: "I welcome the HMIC report, which recognises the initial progress that is being made. We still have a significant way to go, but the early signs are encouraging, as we move forward to deliver a world class policing service for the public of West Yorkshire."

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