AFTER years of falling crime figures it looks as though cutbacks to police budgets are coming home to roost.

In West Yorkshire there has been a 11 per cent increase in recorded crimes. That’s slightly below the national average of 13 per cent but no cause for celebration.

Recent national figures showing a rise in thefts and violent crime are a particular concern.

In recent years West Yorkshire Police has had to juggle shrinking budgets and staff cuts with an unprecedented level of demand. In 2017, the force answered an extra 23,000 999 calls.

Of course, many of these emergencies may have been nothing of the sort. Neighbour disputes and spurious complaints account for some of the increase.

However, police chiefs say a significant minority were from vulnerable people in complex situations caused by organised crime gangs.

Yesterday police launched a new operation to take the fight to organised criminal gangs. The Programme Precision crackdown will look to prevent people from becoming involved in organised crime, “relentlessly” pursue criminals through disruption, aim to reduce the impact of serious and organised crime to victims, businesses and communities.

That’s a laudable aim but the chances of success are slim if the Government continues to carve away at the policing budget.

There’s no substitute for boots on the ground but the proliferation in sophisticated cyber-crimes – not to mention the increased terror threat – is making it harder than ever to put more bobbies on the beat.