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Commissioner supports plans to consolidate Bradford’s two police divisions
Controversial plans to merge the two Bradford police divisions, as part of a cost-cutting restructuring of the West Yorkshire force, have been backed by the Police and Crime Commissioner.
West Yorkshire PCC Mark Burns Williamson said the proposals would help to make the public feel safe.
Chief Constable Mark Gilmore plans to change the police structure across the county, reducing the number of divisions from eight to five to ensure policing areas share the same boundaries and area arrangements with local councils.
The proposals would mean merging the Bradford South and Airedale and North Bradford police divisions, with the closure of the cells at Keighley police station.
West Yorkshire Police says that reducing managerial costs and cutting red tape will enable police to provide a more efficient service to the public and protect frontline policing services.
But some critics, including Shipley MP Philip Davies, have raised concerns that the merger could mean more focus on Bradford city centre at the expense of outlying rural areas where crime levels are lower.
Mr Burns Williamson said: “With police cuts of £64 million over the next three years, the only way to improve the service to people across West Yorkshire is to take the sort of innovative decisions the Chief Constable has made.
“Ensuring people are safe and feeling safe is my top priority and that is why I am committed to protecting frontline policing resources, to make sure we keep our staff and officers where people tell me they want them – out and about in their communities preventing and detecting crime.
“This restructure will also help many of our partners such as councils, public health bodies and the voluntary sector, work in a more joined up way with the police so that together we can better solve local problems and improve the lives of the people we serve."
Chief Constable Mr Gilmore said: “For the first time the force will share the same boundaries with local authorities and other partners which will enable it to improve the way it works with local agencies to make decisions and tackle issues like criminality and anti-social behaviour more quickly together.”
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