Leeds & West Yorkshire

Stretched West Yorkshire Police force 'exhausted'

Police officers
Image caption The police chief said cyber-crime, child sexual exploitation and terrorism were putting extra strain on resources

Many police officers in West Yorkshire are "exhausted" as they work long hours to make up for cuts to their workforce, the chief constable has said.

Dee Collins is the latest senior police officer to raise concerns about a lack of government money going to forces across the country.

West Yorkshire Police has fallen by 1,063 officers over the past 10 years.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has admitted police resources are "very tight" and need the "right response".

The police chief said cyber crime, child sexual exploitation and terrorism were putting extra strain on resources.

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Her comments were made in a joint statement with Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Mark Burns-Williamson.

It said since 2006, the number of citizens per officer had risen from 379 to 493, which is above the national average of 467.

Image copyright West Yorkshire Police
Image caption Ch Con Dee Collins is the latest senior officer to raise concerns about officer numbers

The chief constable said: "Put simply, the greater the ratio of officers to citizens, the higher the demand.

"I am extremely proud of my officers and staff, many of who are exhausted, having worked incredibly long hours to meet demand and manage large-scale incidents in the past few months.

"However, our resources will only stretch so far and my concern is just how sustainable this in the long term, without an uplift in funding and resources."

She added: "Terrorist incidents in recent weeks have highlighted now much communities need our support and reassurance."

Mr Burns-Williamson called on the government to listen and reinvest in policing as they provide about 80% of West Yorkshire Police's budget.

He said: "As PCC, I have always been committed to Neighbourhood Policing and have protected Police Community Support Officer numbers, but we need more police officers and staff on the frontline."

The comments come as the chief constable of West Midlands Police, Dave Thompson, said the "strain is showing" after multiple terror attacks.

Writing on the blog of the National Police Chief's Council (NPCC) he said: "We'd have real challenges in dealing with something like the 2011 riots again."

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