LETTER: I will continue to fight for fairer funding

Mark Burns-Williamson
Mark Burns-Williamson

I just wanted to take the opportunity to respond to the comments that were featured in last week’s Express.

Firstly thank you to the members of the public that got in touch.

In relation to having more bobbies on the beat…absolutely! Protecting frontline policing and neighbourhood policing has always been a key commitment of mine.

This year alone West Yorkshire Police will increase by 264 officers and specialist staff with PCSO numbers also maintained at current levels of around 600.

This investment is thanks to the support of our communities through an average increase of £24 on the police element of council tax for the 2019/20 financial year.

However, this increase is against a backdrop of years of damaging government cuts to police funding, in real terms of 30% (around £140m) in West Yorkshire alone which did result in the loss of around 2000 officers and staff since 2010 so these recruitment increases will take some time to take effect in helping the rebuild the workforce.

It was also recently announced that we finally stand to see some renewed investment from the government with the long overdue announcement of 20,000 officers to be recruited nationally, which is essentially to replace the 20,000 or so offices lost since 2010.

Although I of course welcome any proposed increases, there are still many unanswered questions and assurances that need to be given around long term funding and allocation of resources to areas like West Yorkshire which faces many challenges and demands.

I have done everything I could to negate the impact of the Government cuts and I will continue to fight for a fairer funding deal for our police service and communities going forward.

I think its really important for clarity to state that the £180,000 mentioned is the Chief Constable’s salary which is set by the Home Office for West Yorkshire as the fourth largest police force in England and Wales.

If there is a specific issue in your area such as the speeding that was mentioned then please do get in touch with your local Neighbourhood Policing Team either by visiting West Yorkshire Police’s website or by calling 101.

You can also contact my office via email at contact@westyorkshire.pcc.pnn.gov.uk or by phone 01924 294000.

Mark Burns-Williamson

West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner