FALLING police numbers and a rise in violent and sexual crimes – amid a pensions shortfall which could lead to even fewer officers – were highlighted by Bradford South MP Judith Cummins in Parliament.

Speaking during yesterday’s Prime Minister’s Questions, the Labour MP told Theresa May: “West Yorkshire Police has 900 fewer officers than it did eight years ago. The result: a 45 per cent rise in violent and sexual crimes in my constituency this year.

“And now the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners have warned that the Government’s pension shortfall will cost £165 million pounds and leave 4,000 fewer officers on our streets. In West Yorkshire alone this means another 400 officers lost.

“Does the Prime Minister agree with me that this is national scandal and that the police should be fighting crime - and not fighting for funding?”

Mrs May said an atmosphere where people are more willing to report crimes such as the ones highlighted by Mrs Cummins is partly responsible for the rise. She said the pension issue has “been known for some years”. 

Speaking afterwards, Mrs Cummins said: “The Tories used to claim they were the party of law and order, but their woeful record over the past eight years shows they are anything but.

“The PM glossed over the fact that violent crime is on the rise nationwide and our Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) himself has said the scale of these pension changes are unexpected and will affect the ability to recruit more officers.

“West Yorkshire’s Chief Constable has spoken about the impact cuts have had on her ‘exhausted’ officers and their ability to do their jobs. And

Mark Burns-Williamson (West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner) has previously said lack of resources has meant a rise in response times, an increase in crime and a decrease in confidence levels.”

She added: “It’s time the government got a grip on this problem. My constituents and people across Yorkshire are suffering as a direct results of their policies. I hope the Prime Minister - and her chancellor - take on board what I said today.”

Meanwhile, Mr Burns-Williamson has written an open letter to Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, raising concerns about the impact of the recent announcement around unfunded employer pension contributions across policing.

It’s anticipated the increase in employer contribution would equate to a net cost of £6.6m in 2019-20 in West Yorkshire and to around £18m beyond 2020.

Mr Burns-Williamson said it would put a “detrimental hole in policing funding” and would impact on the force’s ability to recruit. 
He said: “The bottom line is that the additional monies raised by PCCs through the £12 extra on the Police Council Tax will be all but wiped out to pay for this.”