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West Yorkshire police boss fears further £7m cuts
West Yorkshire Police could face extra cuts of nearly £7 million in the next two years as a result of Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement, it is claimed.
The figure is on top of cuts already announced by the Government which mean that savings of about £143m need to be made between 2010/11 and 2016/17 – more than a quarter of the budget.
In response, West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson has warned the Government to think hard before possibly further compromising the safety of communities and exacerbating the growing North-South divide in police funding.
The force has already had to make savings of £75m in the past three years.
The Autumn Statement, released on Thursday, revealed that the Home Office budget will be cut by an extra £231m by 2016. Up to three-quarters of the Home Office budget is on policing and four per cent of that comes to West Yorkshire.
That could mean an extra £3.5m savings to be found for 2014/15 and £3.4m in 2015/16, on top of those already announced, said Mr Burns-Williamson.
He said he would be urging the Home Office to absorb the extra cuts so delivery of services were not affected.
“We have secured funding for 44 extra police officers by increasing the precept to ensure we are keeping our communities safe and feeling safe,” he said.
“But any more cuts would be particularly difficult for West Yorkshire and communities would potentially suffer.
“I am calling on the Government to ensure everything is done to protect the West Yorkshire Police budget which was highlighted recently by the HMIC report as being disproportionately targeted by Government funding cuts.
“That is why it is important that we get all the cash seized from West Yorkshire criminals by our police – rather than just the bit the Government lets us keep. I will be seeking assurances from the Home Secretary that West Yorkshire will not feel the full force of cuts.
“This is hitting communities across West Yorkshire and creating an even wider gap between those areas with the greatest need and those that do not face the same or significant challenges that we do.”
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