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West Yorkshire Police action on cuts is approved
West Yorkshire Police is transforming policing and improving performance, an independent watchdog has found.
The force has turned around its fortunes in the four months since it was criticised by the HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).
In July, HMIC identified West Yorkshire as one of five police forces which were struggling with cutbacks. It said the force had not identified sufficient savings and was placing too great a reliance on the use of reserves to balance the budget.
The HM Inspector of Constabulary for the Northern region, Roger Baker, said West Yorkshire had not “grasped the same opportunities to transform and deliver savings as other forces”. He warned that detailed plans had to be rapidly developed and implemented, and strong and effective leadership was essential.
The report led to a review by Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson and Chief Constable Mark Gilmore.
Now, following a revisit by HMIC, it has welcomed that the reliance on reserves has dropped significantly from £31 million to £7m and that the organisational and cultural Programme of Change is grasping the opportunities to transform policing and improve performance in West Yorkshire.
Savings of at least £143m are needed by 2017, meaning a reduction of a quarter in the budget since 2010, and the Chief Constable and the PCC are looking at how to save money and work more closely with others to protect frontline policing and provide a better service to people across the county.
Mr Burns-Williamson said: “We have been reviewing every part of the police service and, by working smarter, we have made significant savings.
“HMIC had told us that we had not identified sufficient savings to close the funding gap, but we have now achieved that following some rigorous work.
“We have gone from potentially using £31m of reserves in July to balance the books, to just £7m now by looking at where we spend that money and how. This gap has been closed without significantly affecting frontline policing.
“I will continue to work with communities, partners and the Chief Constable to make sure our communities are safer and feel safer.”
Chief Constable Mark Gilmore said: “I welcome the HMIC report, which recognises the initial progress that is being made. We still have a significant way to go, but the early signs are encouraging, as we move forward to deliver a world class policing service for the public of West Yorkshire.”
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