Crime fears have emerged after councillors were told a percentage of Leeds police officers were being moved away from the city to tackle crime in Bradford.
Leeds City Council’s executive member for safer communities, Coun Mark Dobson, highlighted the “trend that obviously concerns” after rumours of officers being relocated were brought up at a top level meeting.
West Yorkshire Police has confirmed some Leeds posts will be “realigned”, in a move believed to have come in reaction to falling crime rates in Leeds and rising rates in Bradford, stating that it has a duty to deploy staff where they are needed most.
Claiming he fears Leeds could become “a victim of its own success”, Coun Dobson said the safety of Leeds’s communities must not be compromised.
“It’s a trend that obviously concerns,” he said. “For a modern policing service this can not be the way forward and the funding gaps that are becoming so transparent from central Government are not sustainable.”
The movement of 16 officers, which represents around 1.5 per cent of the force in Leeds, is expected to take place over the coming weeks and months.
Highlighting the work of the Safer Leeds partnership in driving down burglary and robbery statistics, Coun Dobson feels that its work must not be undone. He said: “If there is a correlation between where there are increases in crime and where those [police staff changes] are, we will be making representations at the highest level to the police force.”
Coun Barry Anderson, chair of the Scrutiny Board for Safer and Stronger Communities, posed the question of transfers at Wednesday’s full council meeting and demanded councillors be made aware of what areas of Leeds will be impacted.
The success of crime reduction in Leeds has been much publicised. The Community Action and Support Against Crime (CASAC) charity, which was set up to combat burglaries more than a decade ago, was forced to fold in September due to falling crime rates. Its work, which was part-funded by Safer Leeds, has been credited in part for helping to bring about a major reduction in recorded burglaries in the city – incidents fell 61 per cent between 2004 and last year.
Deputy Chief Constable John Robins, of West Yorkshire Police, said the “realignment” was nothing unusual and that police numbers regionally will not change.
He said: “We have made small adjustments to the police officer numbers across the policing districts and this is the right operational thing to do. With the backdrop of continued and significant funding challenges across the police service, we must realign our existing resources to best reduce crime and the fear of crime across the county.”