Budget proposals to pay for recruitment of 82 more police officers given the go ahead by Police and Crime Panel (6 Feb 2015)

More than 80 police officers can now be recruited after budget proposals submitted by West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, have been given the go ahead.

The West Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel today (FRI)supported Mr Burns-Williamson's proposal to increase the police council tax by 1.99 per cent, which will cost taxpayers less than four pence extra a week.

The increase is for the police element of the council tax and will help pay for the recruitment of 82 police officers against a back-drop of significant government cuts to the policing budget in West Yorks.

Mr Burns-Williamson told the panel that the overall package of measures within the precept proposal was designed to protect frontline policing and keep communities safer.

He said: "I really welcome the Panel's support today (FRI).

"It has been well documented that the government has cut West Yorkshire Police's budget by £163million, a 40 per cent reduction by 2016/17, so this rise, albeit a small one, will really help.

"I continue to raise wherever possible with the Home Secretary and others, the damage these severe cuts will cause to our communities, and although I have managed to protect frontline policing for the past two years, the cuts continue to go too far, too fast and are beginning to impact on neighbourhood policing visibility and many other strands of policing.

"West Yorkshire is an area with some of the greatest policing and community safety needs and yet the government is allocating money unfairly and is 'top slicing' our budget to fund other organisations and policing areas depriving West Yorks of at least £11m per year on average.

"I continue to fight for a fairer deal for West Yorkshire but given the severe reductions in government funding going forward, the only means of allowing for any police officer recruitment is to increase the police council tax.

"As part of my Community Conversation survey, 55 per cent of respondents indicated that they would be willing to pay 2per cent or more for their police service, but the cost of holding a referendum makes doing this prohibitive and undermines local accountability.

"Although proposing this precept increase is a difficult decision in these economic times I am pleased that the Panel has supported my decision today.

"Continuing the recruitment of police officers is important to protect the frontline as far as possible and together with partners we are working to make sure we keep communities safer and feeling safer.

"Ongoing recruitment is also crucial in underpinning the incentives for specials and PCSOs the chance to become police officers.

"The continued scale of cuts from government fails to recognise the complex and increasing demands around CSE, trafficking, and cybercrime the police service are faced with now and in the future."

© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2018