Severe cuts to policing budgets in West Yorkshire have seen a surge in the number of officers needing treatment for stress and other problems.

The number of officers in Kirklees has fallen by 90 in just five years.

West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson says the “brutal” cuts mean the force’s budget will have reduced by over 30% in 2016/17.

And the cuts have seen an increase in referrals to the Police Treatment Centres in Harrogate and Perthshire – up by 8%.

He said: “People are our greatest resource and ensuring they remain both mentally and physically well is crucial.

“The current climate of brutal and unending government cuts means that our police service, officers and staff, are under intense pressure and strain and I am committed to doing everything I can to support them when they need it in these difficult times.”

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He joined West Yorkshire Police’s Temporary Chief Constable, Dee Collins, in donating £10,000 to the centres using money from the Police Property Act Fund.

The Police Treatment Centres is a registered charity primarily supported by voluntary donations from serving officers, who can give £1.30 per week from their salaries.

West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson with Sgt. Neil Willan in New Street, Huddersfield.
West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson with Sgt. Neil Willan in New Street, Huddersfield.

It provides two treatment centres where serving and retired officers receive recuperation and treatment following illness or injury.

Temporary Chief Constable Dee Collins said: “West Yorkshire Police and our Federation are very committed to the wellbeing of our staff and I am delighted to support the donation to this worthy cause.”

The Examiner revealed earlier this month that the number of full-time equivalent uniformed officers in Kirklees was 659 in April 2010 but just 569 by this April. Across West Yorkshire the number has fallen from 5,627 in October 2010 to 4,553 – a drop of 1,074.

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Patrick Cairns, CEO of the Police Treatment Centres, said: “This is a very challenging time to be a police officer and we treat hundreds of West Yorkshire Police officers every year who present with both physical and psychological conditions, many of which are a direct result of the excellent work that they do in serving the community and public throughout West Yorkshire which often exacts a heavy toll on them personally.

“The PTC prides itself on treating these men and women, and getting them back to work as swiftly as possible, which is where they want to be.”

The PTC treated over 4,000 police officers in 2014, an 8% increase on the previous year. Most receive intensive physiotherapy and others seek support for stress-related conditions, respite or to recuperate following an illness or operation.”

The Police Property Act Fund contains money from the sale of property connected with crime, and can only be used for one-off charitable donations.