The body that represents rank-and-file police officers has given a cautious welcome to plans to merge the three divisions in Leeds.
As reported on Saturday, West Yorkshire Police chiefs have drawn up plans to replace the City and Holbeck and North East and North West Leeds divisions with a single city-wide division as part of a force-wide shake-up.
Chief Constable Mark Gilmore said the move – prompted by efforts to make sweeping budget cuts – would mean “fewer managers, more doers”.
Now the Police Federation, which is being consulted, has added its qualified support to the proposals, acknowledging that the force must make savings.
Chairman Jon Christopher said: “We support any move that will bring about these cuts while causing the least amount of pain.
“On paper, these proposals look like they should do that, but as with everything, the proof will be in the pudding.”
West Yorkshire Police is in the process of having to make more than £112 million in savings over the course of the four years from 2011 to 2015.
A recent report by HM Inspectorate of Constabularies revealed the force had failed to set out how it would reach that target.
Mr Gilmore said the current three-division structure in Leeds was “no longer viable” but added: “We are confident that the reduction in divisions and removal of police boundaries will make us more effective, not less.”
Mr Christopher said, while the federation was not against the proposal, officers were facing growing pressure.
“Our members are having to do more work with fewer officers. It’s having an effect on people’s health and stress levels, with the consequent impact that has on people’s home and family lives” he said.