The man responsible for West Yorkshire Police’s budget says the cuts have gone too far.

The county’s Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson says the demands on him to keep reducing the budget – by £33.5m in 2015/16 – means the force is having to think differently how it will continue its role in the future.

And in an interview with Examiner crime reporter Louise Cooper he said: “These continued and relentless cuts are deep and damaging and go too far.”

He revealed that a major challenge he now faces is protecting frontline policing within West Yorkshire’s communities.

Police tape sealing off St Peters Gardens surrounding Huddersfield Parish Church
Police tape sealing off St Peters Gardens surrounding Huddersfield Parish Church
 

Here's Louise's interview with Mark Burns-Williamson:

How do you envisage the budget affecting provision going forward to 2015 and beyond?

"The overall budget reduction for 2015/16 is £33.5m with a further cut of 5.1% needing to be found over the next 12 months.

"These continued and relentless cuts are deep and damaging and go too far.

“Clearly you can’t carry on doing everything you’ve always done.

“As a force we have introduced a new operating model, looking at shift patterns to maximise officer availability.

“Moving forward, we are looking at how we can do more integrated teams with council, fire, health service, voluntary groups – for instance multi-agency teams dealing with mental health issues and working with the fire service in terms of crime preventions.

“Clearly the Government hasn’t prioritised the policing budgets and whoever is elected next year needs to have a serious reconsideration from the Home Office.

“We are fast approaching tipping points with community safety. These are the realities.”

What do you think have been some of the priorities of 2014 policing?

"Protecting frontline policing is key and by and large with have done that by securing neighbourhood policing numbers. But that’s going to get more difficult going forward with the funding situation.

"Tackling Child Sexual exploitation, not just because of the Rotherham report but certainly following the Jimmy Savile affair and just general rises in sexual-related offences.

"I’ve been working with the police and partners very closely on this.

"I’ve allocated additional funding to domestic violence to look at how we try and not only tackle offenders but look at how to prevent domestic abuse happening in the first place.

"A key focus within the police has been domestic burglary and we’ve had excellent results there – it’s down 20% in the two years.

“Lastly, road safety in Kirklees continues to be an issue and that can range from speeding and dangerous driving to people using mobiles and handheld devices.”

Road safety in Kirklees is a priority
Road safety in Kirklees is a priority
 

What has been implemented this year and why were these areas chosen for funding?

“Most recently I’ve launched the Help for Victims website and a lot of work has been done to get it to that stage.

“Basically, the idea for this was as a result of many conversations with victims’ groups to bring all the signposting into one website and that’s what we’ve done. There are more than 400 groups basically covering every category of crime.

"Taking that further, we are looking at how cases are tracked through the judicial system which will be ground breaking."

During your election campaign one of your key pledges was to lobby for the Proceeds of Crime to return to West Yorkshire. Can we have an update on this?

"The Government is looking at legislation around that, but I’ve set up the Safer Communities Fund so far, managing to allocate half a million pounds to benefit 125 groups.

"In Kirklees in the last round something like 10 projects shared £48,000."

You have worked with the University of Huddersfield. How did this come about and what has been the outcome?

“Yes, I’ve allocated a £10,000 grant to Kirklees Community Safety Partnership which has allowed student to launch ‘appy’ student app.

“This project demonstrates how West Yorkshire is leading the way in using mobile technology to ensure students receive advice on keeping safe at university.”

New app keeping students safe, 'Appy Student'.Pictured at the Freshers' Fair at the University of Huddersfield with the app running on their devices are, l to r, Pc Laura Jackson (student safety officer), David Keegan (head of Wellbeing), James Denton (Kirklees Safer Communities officer), Tom Whitcombe and Josh Flitcroft (students and the app's developers)
New app keeping students safe, 'Appy Student'.Pictured at the Freshers' Fair at the University of Huddersfield with the app running on their devices are, l to r, Pc Laura Jackson (student safety officer), David Keegan (head of Wellbeing), James Denton (Kirklees Safer Communities officer), Tom Whitcombe and Josh Flitcroft (students and the app's developers)
 

How have you ensured that residents’ views are heard and that issues in Kirklees are raised?

"We send out surveys – in the first two years 34,000 so it’s a good sample size – and we get a lot of very good feedback from the public.

"Following on from my Listening To You First consultations, I have now started my Community Conversation to find out more about people’s concerns for policing and community safety and what matters to them and have some honest conversations about what the future holds for policing and community safety."

We’ve had reports from residents in Kirklees Rural that there are delays answering 101 non-emergency calls? Is this something which had been brought to your attention?

"Yes, When I’ve been out and met members of the public they have raised issues about difficulties getting through on that number. I am aware of some of the issues with the 101 service. The force has recognised that and is actively recruiting more call handlers. There will be an update report regarding the performance and answering calls within a certain period of time."