Rallying call for the public to 'save policing' as West Yorkshire Police now has 600 fewer officers

The public need to fight to support the police service, which is struggling to cope with years of budget cuts.

By Lucy Leeson
Sunday, 28th April 2019, 12:35 pm
Updated Sunday, 28th April 2019, 1:05 pm
There are 600 fewer West Yorkshire Police officers now than 10 years ago.
There are 600 fewer West Yorkshire Police officers now than 10 years ago.

This is the rallying call from West Yorkshire Police Federation chairman Brian Booth, following the release of the latest crime statistics.

The figures, released from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), revealed crime across West Yorkshire has risen by 12 per cent in the past year, with 291, 573 incidents reported to police.

This is at the same time as the number of police officers in the force in 600 fewer than 10 years ago.

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West Yorkshire Police Federation Chairman Brian Booth has issued a rallying call for the public to support officers following years of budget cuts and rising crime.

Mr Booth said: “The public need to know that the police service cannot carry on with such poor funding and expect us to perform how society demands. “In 2009 we had 5,854 officers in West Yorkshire; at the last official count in 2018 we had 5,014 officers. We are now recruiting to try and build on that number thanks to council tax payers in West Yorkshire who have supported their police with the council tax precept rise. But even after all this we will still have 600 fewer officers than we did a decade ago."

Mr Booth, who represents ranked officers within the force, said it is important the public know that police do far more than just investigate crime.

He said: "They try and help our society to maintain cohesiveness. They protect the vulnerable and make them feel safe. They support those who suffer mental ill health in the public domain. Most importantly, they come to a call of help when others don’t.“Nothing has changed in the mind of the frontline officer; the police fight to serve the public. We now need the public to fight for the police. “The cuts have gone too far, for far too long. The real question has to be whether the public of West Yorkshire are proud to have some of the worst crime statistics in the country.“I can tell you that your officers are not proud, but it is not their fault. Fault lies firmly at the feet of this government.“The other alternative is to have a proper review of policing and decide what the service should no longer will deal with.”

The latest crime statistics revealed there had been big rises in stalking, violence and robbery across West Yorkshire.

There was also a 33 per cent increase in possession of offensive weapons with 2,314 offences reported to police.

Statistics also show there were 2,715 serious offences where a knife was used.

Mr Booth said: “The ONS statistics show that the police service is still struggling with the lack of proper sustainable funding.

“We are one of the biggest Forces outside London and as such have similar crime trends. We are still 600 officers short of where we were in 2009, yet crime has increased and also changed.

“Political interference means we chase the topical crimes leaving others in the wake.

"This week it is knife crime, previously it was acid attacks, moped crime, road deaths. The new emerging headline is fraud or civil disobedience to other agendas.”