Ed’s column in the Morley Observer & Advertiser

When I’m out and about across Morley, the issue that comes up most often is policing. Seeing regular police patrols is reassuring and makes us feel safe. Yet police budgets are being cut 20 per cent. The West Yorkshire Chief Constable has estimated there will be 1,500 fewer police jobs in West Yorkshire.

Thankfully our local policing teams here in Morley are second to none. Local Neighbourhood Policing Team Inspector, Paul Sullivan told me last week that overall crime is down round here by 20%. We still have our PCSOs too thanks to the commitment of Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Police to supporting neighbourhood policing teams. And as a result of strong local leadership by Inspector Sullivan, we have a very visible local police force. I regularly see the local teams, especially around Morley town centre.

But as police budgets are cut back too far and too fast and money is wasted on elected police commissioners, I’m worried our visible local policing is under threat. There’s only so much you can take away from the backroom before the front line is affected too.  £125 million is about to be spent electing Police Commissioners. I carried out a survey of local people a couple of months back. Most wanted plans for Police Commissioners delayed and 88% thought the money would be better spent on front-line police. I totally agree. Here in Morley we’ll be covered by the Police Commissioner for West Yorkshire. He or she will struggle to make it to Morley once a year, let alone get chance to gain a good understanding of local crime. Morleians deserve to feel safe on their street and in town. We need a strong local police force, not an elected Commissioner.

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Posted March 7th, 2012 by Ed's team