Multi-million pound cuts to South Yorkshire’s policing budget have been described as ‘madness’ by the new vice chairman of the body which oversees the way the force is run and funded.
Coun Shaun Wright spoke out following his appointment as vice chairman of South Yorkshire Police Authority.
He said Government plans to slash South Yorkshire’s policing budget by 20 per cent - £43 million over the next four years - were ‘absolute madness’.
“With Government cuts to police budgets and proposed changes to governance structures it’s a challenging time to take up this role,” he said.
“However, along with every other members of the Police Authority, I am determined to ensure we maintain our excellent performance and the force’s ability to combat crime.
“In South Yorkshire we have an enviable record of policing, but the Home Office recently warned of a likely 10 per cent increase in crime as the recession bites, so it is absolute madness to cut our policing budgets by 20 per cent when South Yorkshire residents rightly demand and deserve safer neighbourhoods in which to live.”
Coun Wright, who is also Mayor of Rotherham, has taken over the vice chairmanship of the Police Authority from Councillor Reg Littleboy, who has retired from the role.
Charles Perryman has been reappointed as chairman for a further 12 months.
Both were appointed at the Police Authority’s annual general meeting.
Sheffield-based Mr Perryman, who has been a member of the authority for the last 12 years and was appointed chair in 2007, said: “I am pleased my colleagues have asked me to lead the authority for another year.
“It’s a critical time for local policing, and the authority has a lot to do over the next few months in preparing the ground for the new structural arrangements the Government is planning to introduce in May 2012.
“This might be the final year for Police Authorities, but I am confident we will work together to ensure a smooth handover to the new governing body for policing in South Yorkshire.”