Fears of police ‘breaking point’

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Councillors in Leeds are to write to West Yorkshire’s policing boss amid concerns that staffing is at breaking point in the run up to the busy Christmas period.

Members of Leeds City Council’s licensing panel made a direct plea to Mark Burns Williamson, the region’s police and crime commissioner, after concerns were raised about rising levels of crime and disorder in Leeds city centre in the evenings.

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As reported in the YEP earlier this week, shocking new figures reveal a 13 per cent overall increase in trouble in Leeds city centre in the same 12-month period from 2014/15 to 2015/16.

Speaking at the Leeds Civic Hall meeting, police representatives admitted that “resourcing is still a very considerable problem”.

Conservative councillor Billy Flynn said: “There are clearly not enough police officers out there. That is not the fault of the police officers on the ground.”

The panel was told that a reduction in street marshals and other resources had led to police having to “prioritise where the greatest increases in violence are”.

Speaking ahead of the launch of West Yorkshire Police’s five-year crime action plan yesterday, Mr Burns Williamson said: “We want to protect our frontline police as much as possible.

“We recruited extra officers earlier this year but we want at least 300 more. We’ve lost over 2,000 officers over the past few years because of Government cuts. We’re now starting to rebuild the numbers but it obviously takes time.”

Saphieh Ashtiany, the equality and employment lawyer

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