HUGE Government budget cuts have forced West Yorkshire Police to lose 1,441 staff over the last two years.
Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison announced the figures as part of the force’s policing plan for 2012 to 2015.
Despite having to meet a 20 per cent Westminster-imposed budget cut – equivalent to around £96 million – the force and the police authority say they are aiming to protect local and specialist policing so they can provide the best service to the public.
Sir Norman said: “This is a deliberately ambitious plan for improving police performance even further in the year ahead.
“As of this week, the force has 1,441 fewer staff compared to 2010, but performance is still improving in virtually every aspect.
“We have made significant reductions in crime across the board. Burglary, for example, is 12 per cent down on the start of the year.
“There may come a time, a tipping point, when we can no longer find savings and maintain performance, but we still feel, for now, that we can aspire to some challenging targets to reduce burglary and other crime further, and continue to earn improvements in public confidence.”
The plan includes an ongoing review of the force’s buildings.
Staff from rented buildings are being moved to save money and the force is looking for “under-utilised” buildings to sell.
As reported by the Courier, Calderdale’s police stations are included in the force-wide review into its estates.
John Prentice, director of estates, transport and logistics, told the Courier in December that there is an ongoing review into all policing services, including estates, to ensure the force is “working efficiently and providing the most appropriate service to meet demand”.
No decisions have yet been made.
Moves to cut the force’s costs have so far seen traffic cops no longer based in Calderdale and instead deployed out of Bradford.
Scenes of Crimes Officers are also no longer based at Halifax Police Station, now working from three centres in Leeds, Bradford and Heckmondwike.