‘Tough decisions ahead’ for force in South Yorkshire, says police chief

Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire Alan Billings.

Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire Alan Billings.

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The budget could have ‘grave consequences’ for police forces as funds are diverted to the NHS, defence and security, according to South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

Dr Alan Billings said some tough decisions will have to be made to ensure the region has a police force which can cope with the increasing demands it faces.

He said: “From a policing perspective, this budget could have grave consequences for police forces.

“With the announcement of increased spending in the NHS, and on defence and security, the majority of these cuts in spending will fall to police forces and local government organisations to bear the brunt of the savings.

“Over the last five years we have made significant savings and some tough decisions in order to balance our budget.

“Over the coming weeks and months we will continue to work with the force to minimise the impact both for the public and for our staff, but we are going to have to face some very tough decisions in order to provide a police service that will meet the demands that we face.”

Dr Billings’ comments follow the revelation that numbers of Police Community Support Officers in South Yorkshire will be slashed from 280 to 150 due to funding cuts.

A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “The force is currently facing major budget cuts, which have already resulted in reductions in staff numbers.

“It is inevitable that there will be a reduction in PCSO numbers and we have relayed this to our staff.

“We are working hard to minimise the impact of any decrease in staffing levels.”

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