There are almost 500 people to every police officer in West Yorkshire.
This is a staggering statistic, especially as that number has risen by 30% in the past decade. West Yorkshire Police Chief Constable Dee Collins and Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Mark Burns-Williamson today said this and other factors were generating huge demands, which were increasingly difficult to meet. The rise is due to both a 6% increase in the overall population and a 19% fall in officers. Police Federations have long warned of a crisis looming but now senior police chiefs across the country are saying it too. They have been accused by some commentators and journalists of deliberately making this an issue in the wake of terror attacks. But why wouldn’t they? Perhaps it’s only the wake of such events (and a General Election) which puts the crisis into the spotlight and pushes it up the news agenda again. Police are having to tackle increasingly complex and time-consuming investigations like cybercrimes and child abuse leaving scant time for the niceties of community interaction and preventative policing and if the latest attacks have shown anything it’s that getting to know a patch and the people in it is absolutely crucial to preventing and detecting such attacks in the future.