West Yorkshire’s Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) comments on latest ONS crime statistics (19 July 2018)

Commenting on the latest release of crime statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), concerning the figures for the 12 months to March 2018, Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), said: "The ONS data shows that overall recorded crime has increased by 11% in West Yorkshire compared to the national average of nearly 13%.

"Whilst we never want to see any increases in crime, over half of the increase in West Yorkshire is due to the assessed knock on effect of improved crime and more accurate recording practises, which I have spoken about in more detail in previous statements. However, we are seeing the rate of increase gradually slowing and remaining lower than the national average and comparable police forces.

"I have regular meetings with the Chief Constable around the work being done to tackle crime and emerging threats to ensure our plans and strategies are fit for purpose, but a continued lack of adequate funding from the Government, coupled with unprecedented demand has put increased pressure on West Yorkshire Police. This recently peaked with a record number of 999 calls on 7 July. West Yorkshire Police received 2,307 emergency calls, exceeding the New Year's Eve call level by nearly 39%, with New Year's Eve traditionally being the busiest night of the year. Even with this level of demand not a single 999 call has been abandoned in the last 12 months and that is a real testament to the exceptional work staff in the contact centres.

"Members of the public can help us in this extraordinarily busy period by using the innovative online contact facilities West Yorkshire Police have created - for example non-emergency reports can be made online and there is a live chat facility for quick queries. To find out more about these options visit https://www.westyorkshire.police.uk/contact-us.

"Against the backdrop of years of Government cuts to policing and many other public services I am working with West Yorkshire Police and other key partners to do all we can to help keep our communities safe. We are continuing to recruit police officers, Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and other staff as a result of raising more money locally through the Police Council Tax. I have also heavily invested in modern technology such as body worn cameras and mobile handheld devices allowing officers to spend more time in our communities and crucially we have recently re-invested in our local Neighbourhood Policing Teams to undertake more early intervention and prevention work. These initiatives and investments are starting to make a difference, but it will take some time for improvements to work through with a younger workforce and years of sustained cuts amounting to the loss of around £140 million from our budget."

© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2019