Statement re Funding Settlement (17 Dec 2015)

The West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, said:

"The details of the police funding settlement announced today are a victory for common sense and represent a pulling back from the brink of potentially taking a huge risk with community safety. As Police and Crime Commissioner I have previously spoken publicly and campaigned hard for the Government not to slash police budgets any further and it appears the Home Secretary has listened carefully to what I have been warning about for some time. The main point I have been emphasising to the Government and many West Yorkshire MPs was the threat to neighbourhood policing and the trust and confidence required and built up over many years. To lose those locally embedded police officers and PCSOs would have been a huge step backwards and potentially undermined the fight against serious threats and challenges within our communities. I know this will be a massive relief to the communities of West Yorkshire and the police service generally.

"It must be remembered, however, that West Yorkshire Police as an organisation has reduced from one employing over 10,000 officers and staff in 2010 to one that now employs less than 8,000 in the 4th largest police force in England and Wales. This is not a growth budget though, but one that will at least broadly help protect what we have and it will take time to repair some of the damage already done.

"Taking into account inflation there will be a cut in West Yorkshire Police's budget of 2.3% (over £6million) in real terms. This could be slightly offset by increasing the amount people pay for the police through their Council Tax but that is an assumption made by the Government. We also need to bear in mind the planned changes to the police funding formula sometime next year which could adversely affect the overall funding position for West Yorkshire and is something I'll be watching very closely.

"I will now take time to consider what this budget actually means in reality rather than what is said at the despatch box in Parliament and what options are available to protect and strengthen front line policing if possible."


 

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