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Page last updated at 15:05 GMT, Thursday, 21 October 2010 16:05 UK
Police Federation chairman "very concerned" over cuts
Police officers
There are fears that frontline policing could be affected by the cuts

The chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation says he is "very concerned" by the cuts in police funding announced by the Chancellor.

Michael Downes, who represents around 6000 police officers in West Yorkshire, said it was "a deception" to say that frontline policing will not be hit.

While back room staff were likely to go first, Mr Downes admitted he feared that police numbers would also fall.

He said: "We are now going down to the bone and this is going to impact."

The Chancellor George Osborne announced in the government spending review that the police budget would be cut by four per cent a year over the next four years.

Mr Downes said that as 80 per cent of the police budget went on pay, it was clear that all aspects of the service could be affected.

Frontline officers

He said that despite the initial focus likely to be on back office functions, he said those staff were still very important to the police service.

Mr Downes explained: "They are supporting the front line police officers. They are being somewhat dismissed at the minute, but these are real people making real contributions to the service.

"But they will have to be the first to go and I think we all know that."

However, Mr Downes said that all Yorkshire's police forces were going to have to look at different ways of working if they were to comply with the cuts.

He admitted that could prove difficult: "The police service has for many years been cutting back and being more efficient and more effective. But there is not a lot of fat there, I am afraid."

Reacting to the budget cuts, West Yorkshire Police's deputy Chief Constable David Crompton said in a statement: "Whilst we do not yet have a detailed picture of what today's spending review will have on the force it is clear that it will have a major impact on how we deliver a police service in West Yorkshire over the next four years.

"It does appear that the largest savings will have to be found in the first couple of years.

"We remain committed to retaining local neighbourhood policing and protecting the public from harm, but we will also have to find unprecedented savings across all our services.

"This will be one of the biggest challenges the force has faced over the past decade and whilst our staff are already working hard to find savings, there is no doubt it will have a significant impact on policing West Yorkshire".

Policing commitment

The chairman of West Yorkshire Police Authority Mark Burns-Williamson also issued a statement giving his reaction to the Chancellor's announcement.

In it, he said: "The force has been involved with the Police Authority in discussions about restructuring back room services whilst retaining its commitment to neighbourhood policing and other front line services as far as possible.

We have got to deal with it. The police service is a 'can do' organisation - always has been and always will be.
Michael Downes, West Yorkshire Police Federation

"Whilst we do not have the full picture of the total impact of the budget cuts yet, the force has been anticipating the scale of cuts are such that staffing levels will be impacted upon.

"The Authority will be working with the force to ensure that recent investment in technology can be used to help the force work smarter and maximise performance".

Michael Downes from the West Yorkshire Police Federation said he knew his members would do what they could to work within the new budget constraints.

He said: "We have got to deal with it. The police service is a 'can do' organisation - always has been and always will be.

"We will do the very best we can within the framework that we are set.

"We are probably going to have to say 'no' occasionally. Up until now the police service has very much said 'yes' to everything requested of it."


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