Front line policing ‘will be protected’ – pledge

WEST Yorkshire Police has vowed to protect front-line policing despite severe cut backs.

In its plan published in conjunction with West Yorkshire Police Authority, the force has detailed four key priorities that will help its officers to improve confidence and satisfaction.

The four priorities include local policing, protecting the public from serious harm, partnerships and collaboration and transforming the organisation.

West Yorkshire Police has to make savings of around £96 million by 2015 and in the last two years alone the force has lost 1,441 members of staff.

Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison said: “This is a deliberately ambitious plan for improving police performance even further in the year ahead.

“As of this week the Force has 1,441 fewer staff compared to 2010, but performance is still improving in virtually every aspect. We have made significant reductions in crime across the board. Burglary, for example, is 12 per cent down on the start of the year.

“There may come a time, a tipping point, when we can no longer find savings and maintain performance, but we still feel, for now, that we can aspire to some challenging targets to reduce burglary and other acquisitive crime further, and continue to earn improvements in public confidence.”

Chair of West Yorkshire Police Authority, Councillor Mark Burns-Williamson OBE, said he wanted to give some assurance about key areas of policing that are high priorities for them all.

“Our overriding aims are to keep people safe and to provide the very best service that we can to the diverse communities of West Yorkshire. We remain fiercely committed to neighbourhood policing, as we know that this is what the public want; it is also the key to tackling local crime and disorder, creating safer communities and increasing public confidence.

“Through our Partners and Community Together (PACT) meetings and feedback from various other surveys we have identified that tackling anti-social behaviour remains a key priority, impacting on confidence and perceptions of safety. Our commitment is to provide extensive support to those victims identified as vulnerable, working with partners to provide a series of appropriate responses.