West Yorkshire Police needs to find £36m more in savings

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West YorkShire Police chiefs will have to use up £23m from cash set aside for emergencies and yet still find another £36m in savings.

The figures emerged in a report on police finances from the Government’s spending watchdog which said Yorkshire forces have lost 20 per cent of their cash over the last five years, with even more Government cuts still to come.

The National Audit Office today warns that nationally even those police forces to have reduced their costs are still at risk from continued demands on their services,

Across Yorkshire, police forces are now routinely using multi-million pound reserves set aside for major incidents to fill in the gaps after years of spending cuts.

Police commissioners from across the region last night said they are looking at further savings, including the need to share services such as major crimes units.

West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson said: “By 2017 the government will have cut West Yorkshire’s policing budget by nearly 40 per cent.

“Since being elected I have protected frontline policing as far as possible making sure police officers and staff are out in our communities but in reality we now have nearly 2000 fewer police officers and staff than in 2010.

“We face significant challenges here in West Yorkshire, including complex safeguarding demands and I have invested an extra £3.5m into tackling complex issues such as human trafficking, cyber crime and child sexual exploitation.

“I continue to fight for a fairer funding deal for West Yorkshire but with further Government cuts to come we are transforming the way we do business to meet these significant challenges and make sure communities are safer and feel safer.”

Policing minister Mike Penning insisted police still have the resources “to do their important work”.

He said: “Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary has made clear that the police are successfully meeting the challenge of balancing their books while protecting the frontline and delivering reductions in crime.”

“The Government has committed to a fundamental review of the police funding formula,” he added.