WEST Yorkshire Police’s failure to recruit sufficient numbers of new officers is having a “real impact” on 999 response times, according to a Leeds City councillor.
Coun Amanda Carter, (Cons/Calverley & Farsley) said one of her constituents recently had to wait four hours after dialling 999 over a serious case involving the safeguarding of a child.
Coun Carter, who sits on the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel, said: “The force is set to recruit 600 officers this year, but that isn’t enough to replace those who have retired over the past few years.
“This failure to recruit sufficient numbers of staff is having a real impact on emergency response times.With last year’s underspend of £3.6m, a projected underspend this year of £3.9m and £120m in the reserves there is money available to recruit so there is no excuse for the public to be having to deal with below par response times from the police.”
Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner said: “Severe Government budget cuts have resulted in West Yorkshire Police’s budget being slashed by £140m since 2010 and saw police numbers drop by around 2,000, this has inevitably had a huge impact.
“I was able to set a budget earlier this year to begin to rebuild numbers of our police officers and protect police community support officer numbers. We are recruiting these officers as quickly as possible.”
Coun Burns Williamson added: “999 calls that are graded as an emergency are responded to by an officer within 15 minutes in over 80 per cent of cases. If Councillor Carter would be able to pass details of the incident that took over four hours I will of course look into that with West Yorkshire Police, but each case needs to assessed individually.”