Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “I had already said in a statement I had issued yesterday (see below) that the Government reversal around police recruitment appeared to be a tacit admittance that they had got it wrong over the past 10 years or so, despite the attempts of Boris Johnson on his visit to West Yorkshire to wash over his own Government’s legacy on support and funding for policing.
“I said that before he came, so for him to then use trainee police officers as the backdrop to what became a political speech was totally inappropriate, those officers and West Yorkshire Police should not have been put in that position.
“A visit from the Home Secretary which originally started out as a discussion about the plans for police recruitment, clearly turned into a rant about Brexit, about the opposition and appeared to be blatant electioneering, which was completely unacceptable as a last-minute hijacking of the visit by Boris Johnson.
“The news of the recruitment drive and the acknowledgment of how officers and staff have suffered with austerity was completely lost because he was only interested in getting his own agenda across.
“There is no way police officers and staff, who clearly thought it would be all about police recruitment announcements, should have formed a backdrop to a speech of that nature.
“I have asked the Chief Constable John Robins for a full explanation around what happened and he is already aware of my dismay and wider concerns this has created and that the public and the media saw through the attempts by Boris Johnson to cloak his political speech under the guise of police recruitment announcements.”
6 September 2019
Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire’s Statement on The Spending Review (5 Sep 2019)
Mark Burns-Williamson, the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for West Yorkshire, said: “Although I welcome any proposed increase in officer numbers, it will only bring us back to the levels we had in 2010, before the sustained cuts to policing by Government which led to a real terms budget cut of 30% in West Yorkshire alone, equating to around 2000 police jobs and a budget cut of around £140m.
“I warned then cuts would lead to rising crime, but the Government simply didn’t listen and now this reversal appears to be a tacit admittance that they got it wrong despite the attempts of Boris Johnson on his visit to West Yorkshire today to wash over his own Governments legacy on support and funding for policing.
“We are not yet clear on how much of the £750m announced yesterday will come to West Yorkshire and its disappointing that it is only a one year settlement when we need certainty for the next few years if we are to tackle and reduce violent crime.
“Since 2010, the population of the county has risen, and there are more demands on policing around historic child sexual exploitation (CSE), county lines, human trafficking and serious and violent crime, so while any extra money is welcome, the pressure will still be on policing and resources need to be sustained over the coming years.
“Government have finally acknowledged that there is a link between police numbers and crime levels, with rising crime as officer numbers were dropped and simply relying on PCCs to pass on ever increasing police council tax burdens to local tax payers isn’t fair or equitable. The current growth and recruitment of police officers in West Yorkshire is being paid for through the increase in the local precept not the Government grant.
“If we are to get back to similar police numbers from a decade ago it is crucial that we also develop a public health approach to ensure we are treating the causes of crime and putting the much needed support into preventative youth services and family support services, rather than treating just the consequences and stretching our police service to breaking point.
“We are doing all we can with partners to keep our communities safe and feeling safe and helping to restore confidence after a huge degree of uncertainty surrounding Brexit that has, and continues to have, an ongoing impact in our communities.”
Message from Katie Dye, David Jenkins and Paul Drinkwater, Labour Councillors for Killingbeck and Seacroft.