West Yorkshire Police preparing for budget cuts and job losses
West Yorkshire police are facing huge budget cuts and must slash almost 200 jobs to balance the books.
The force is bracing itself for restrictions on its budget after the government’s autumn spending review in November, it has emerged.
A report to West Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel said the force had been relying on vacant job posts to make savings, but must now cut 190 roles to balance the books.
The government has asked all departments to plan for savings of between 25 and 40 per cent by 2019-20 - and the policing budget is not protected from the cuts.
The financial briefing report said: “In 2014-15 the force relied heavily on police staff vacancies to deliver savings, but now urgently needs to identify robust, recurrent plans to remove 190 posts from the organisation”.
The results of the government spending review will be announced on November 25.
The report said that on top of the overall budget cuts, changes to the way funding is calculated could also hit West Yorkshire Police.
It warns that “...there appears to be a shift in funding from the metropolitan areas such as West Yorkshire to the shire areas.
“The Home Office have advised that no individual force will gain or lose by more than 20 per cent. Any change will be on top of the funding reductions due to the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR).”
The panel said Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner, voiced concern over the cuts at the last panel meeting on Friday at Dewsbury Town Hall.
In a statement issued after the meeting, panel chairwoman Alison Lowe said: “The Police and Crime Panel believes that West Yorkshire Police should receive its fair amount of central government funding and we welcome a review of how this money is to be allocated across the country.
“We will continue to hold the Police and Crime Commissioner to account for how these limited resources are spent to ensure that we have an efficient and effective police force for the people of West Yorkshire.”
The panel was also worried about the proposed closure of magistrates’ courts in Wakefield and Halifax.
Panel vice chairman Alan Wassell said: “We are concerned that victims of crime will be dissuaded from attending court if they have to travel further afield.
“We have asked the Police and Crime Commissioner to provide support to victims if these local magistrates’ courts do close.”