Police and Crime Commissioner backs plan to protect frontline policing in West Yorkshire

Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire Mark Burns-Williamson.
Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire Mark Burns-Williamson.

Mark Burns-Williamson, Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire has backed the decision of West Yorkshire’s Chief Constable Mark Gilmore to change the way the police are structured across the county, reducing the number of divisions from eight to five to ensure policing areas share the same boundaries and area arrangements with local councils.

In the face of unprecedented government cuts, reducing managerial costs and cutting red tape will enable the police to provide a more efficient service to the public and protect frontline policing services in all our communities across West Yorkshire. The restructure also provides a real opportunity to improve police performance through a leaner, more effective management structure which should encourage a much more joined up approach to the polices’ partnership working.

Commenting on the new approach Mark Burns Williamson, West Yorkshire PCC said: “With government cuts of £64m over the next three years to our police service, the only way to improve the service provided to people across West Yorkshire is to take the sort of innovative decisions the Chief Constable has made today.

“Ensuring people are safe and feeling safe is my top priority and that is why I am committed to protecting frontline policing resources, to make sure we keep our staff and officers where people tell me they want them - out and about in their communities preventing and detecting crime.

“This restructure will help the police achieve the goal of making people safer and feel safer but also helps many of our partners such as councils, public health bodies and the voluntary sector work in a more joined up way with the police so that together we can better solve local problems and improve the lives of the people we serve.”

Chief Constable Mark Gilmore on making the changes said: “My ambition, and one which I know our staff and officers actively support, is to develop a World Class policing service for our local residents to make sure our communities are safer and feeling safer.

“For the first time the force will share the same boundaries with local authorities and other partners which will enable it to improve the way it works with local agencies to make decisions and tackle issues like criminality and anti-social behaviour more quickly together.

“I know that the concerns for our local communities are not about policing boundaries but about an improved police service and by making these changes I will be putting in place a new structure across West Yorkshire to make the service more effective and efficient and better meet the challenges we all face.”

Both Bradford South and Airedale and North Bradford will be merged under the new structure as well as City and Holbeck, North East Leeds and North West Leeds. This will leave five divisions, Leeds, Bradford, Calderdale, Wakefield and Kirklees.