West Yorkshire Police will start recuriting again

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WEST Yorkshire Police is to start recruiting again.

The force - which has been under an recruitment freeze - will use £1 million to take on 40 police officers over the next 12 months.

West Yorkshire Police Authority’s budget plans also see them keeping the police council tax precept the same for the second year running.

Because of Government spending cuts of £23 million, the force is looking at a 5.4 per cent cut in its budget.

Chairman of West Yorkshire Police Authority, Councillor Mark Burns-Williamson, said “The 2012 to 2013 budget was always going to be a difficult one to set, due to the further reduction in Government funding front-loaded into the second year of the spending review.

“The major restructuring programme that was started last year will have to save another £27 million this year in order to balance the budget.

“Our decision was made even harder by the offer from the Government of the one-off grant to freeze the police council tax precept. We did consider increasing it, but in the end decided to stick to our view that West Yorkshire residents should not be asked to pay any more than is necessary.

“However, this puts a real strain on police resources, particularly when central Government is cutting the overall grant significantly.

“We did not consider it to be the right time to put an additional burden on the council tax payer at a time of general pay restraint and those on fixed incomes in the community. It does create a further funding gap within the base budget from 2013 to 2014 onwards though.

“We’re relieved that we’ve been able to find some money to enable police officer recruitment to begin again sooner than expected, despite the cuts to our funding. We share the Chief Constable’s concern that stopping police officer recruitment for a lengthy time can harm the organisation in both the short and long term, by reducing training support and restricting movement through the ranks. It’s one of the top priorities for the public of West Yorkshire too, so we have decided to use balances to enable a phased recruitment process to begin again after an 18-month freeze. We have to remember though that all this is against a backdrop of West Yorkshire Police having nearly 2,000 less officers and staff by 2015, which is a stark reality in the fight against crime and the demands that will be placed on the workforce.”