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Anger over police officer numbers after shootings in Dewsbury and Huddersfield

Dewsbury MP and Police Federation hit out at cuts

The scene of a firearms incident on Ravenshouse Road, Dewsbury(Image: Huddersfield Examiner)

Dewsbury’s MP has hit out at the impact of police cuts following a number of broad daylight violent crimes and shootings in the area.

Shots were reportedly fired at a car that crashed into Dewsbury police station last week.

A few hours later a “drive-by” style shooting in Ravenshouse Road saw a man injured.

Paula Sherriff, the Labour MP for Dewsbury, Mirfield, Denby Dale and Kirkburton has now highlighted Home Office figures that show West Yorkshire Police has lost more than 1,000 officers, some 22% of its frontline resources, since 2010.

The cuts in West Yorkshire Police are higher than the England and Wales average, where a 16% reduction in police officer strength has occurred.

Miss Sherriff said she questioned the sincerity of the government’s commitment, made during the General Election, to strengthen the police.

Miss Sherriff said: “Even as senior police warn they are overstretched, the Tories continue to cut funding.

“They seems to care more about who’s going to replace Theresa May than the every day issues that people in our area care about: making ends meet, finding good schools and keeping people safe.

“Cuts to front line police impact crime. I’ll keep fighting for our police forces to be properly resourced.”

West Yorkshire Police Federation (WYPF) has also called on the Home Secretary to follow up on her pre-election vow to look into “unacceptable levels of demand” on its members and visit police in the county.

Mrs Rudd was in West Yorkshire last week, including in Dewsbury where she spoke to the Examiner.

But WYPF said it was angry she had not made the effort to visit them.

Nick Smart, chairman of WYPF, dubbed the Home Secretary “Amber Snub” for declining the opportunity to meet with front line Bobbies and find out a true picture of policing.

He said: “Whenever there’s a major disaster or whenever officers deal with a terrorist incident, or run towards danger, are badly injured or sadly make the ultimate sacrifice, we hear plenty of plaudits and platitudes from the governing politicians who make the decisions on police funding and pay.

“But they can save the fake plaudits and platitudes on behalf of the government, because if they really cared about what police officers did, they would actually go and visit them, and keep their promises, and just listen to them about what the demand is like.

“They would get a first-hand account about the real pressures around custody suites and officers dealing with vulnerable people and their complex issues, the pressures around having to deal with more than 12,000 missing people a year and that impact it has on resources, the pressures around losing 20% of frontline police officers and the increase in workload, the lack of detectives to investigate crimes, the virtual disappearance of roads policing units and the complete erosion of neighbourhood policing at a time when it is so needed.

“She would have also been told about the increase in sickness especially around officers mental health due to the stresses and strains of the job.

West Yorkshire Police Federation chairman Nick Smart

“Stresses and strains the government has spectacularly failed to alleviate over the past seven years. Indeed they have compounded it.

“They have brought the police service to its knees and it is not a legacy to be proud of.”

When challenged about the apparent rise in gun and knife crime in Huddersfield and Dewsbury by the Examiner, Mrs Rudd claimed policing had been protected from cuts over the past few years.

“Overall, crime has been falling since 2010,” she said.

“Since 2015, we have protected police funding.

“I understand West Yorkshire Police’s views, but at a time when as a government, we are trying to reduce the deficit we have protected the funding for police.

“I know violent crime is a particular issue and there has been an increase in this area.

“We have taken action, particularly to do with knives where we’ve introduced new legislation to ban certain types of knives and to make it harder for young people to buy them on the internet.

“We’ve taken action on acid, which is a nasty growth area, and equipping police making sure they know how to combat it.

“We work internationally with our partners to make sure guns don’t get transferred to the UK.

“So we are taking action to combat violent crime and we will continue to do that.”

Meanwhile, West Yorkshire Police is set to hire 300 new police officers.

Anyone interested has from September 11 to 23 to apply.

www.westyorkshire.police.uk/joinus

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