Ru­ral be­trayal

Po­lice cuts are tak­ing their toll

Yorkshire Post - - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR -

AL­THOUGH IT is metropoli­tan po­lice forces which have suf­fered the big­gest cuts in fund­ing, the im­pact on pre­dom­i­nantly ru­ral forces such as North York­shire should not be un­der-es­ti­mated. Its bud­get has been re­duced by 14 per cent and fewer of­fi­cers cover 3,500 square miles of ru­ral ter­rain.

It is a task made even harder by the in­creased preva­lence – and aware­ness – of mental ill­ness that has led to po­lice hav­ing to de­vote more time to search­ing for, and then as­sist­ing, the vul­ner­a­ble. Time-con­sum­ing work, it is be­ing fur­ther com­pro­mised in North York­shire by the short-sighted de­ci­sions to scale back on the pro­vi­sion of places of safety.

Opened in 2012, such suites were sup­posed to sup­port the po­lice across the coun­try and four such fa­cil­i­ties were cre­ated in the north of this county. Yet the cen­tre in Northaller­ton has al­ready fallen vic­tim to cuts and there are now pro­pos­als to close the ser­vice in Har­ro­gate.

Not only will this place an even greater bur­den on po­lice of­fi­cers who will, in­evitably, be left to pick up the pieces when the law-abid­ing pub­lic ex­pect them to be pa­trolling the streets and ap­pre­hend­ing crim­i­nals, but it reaf­firms the view that ru­ral ar­eas con­tinue to be re­garded as an af­ter-thought by the Gov­ern­ment and other key agen­cies.

This, in it­self, is crim­i­nal. For the con­se­quence of these lat­est cut­backs, if ap­proved, could be even more po­lice of­fi­cers re­quir­ing treat­ment for stress at a time when Lisa Win­ward, the Chief Con­sta­ble of North York­shire, has warned that trau­ma­tised of­fi­cers are al­ready wait­ing too long for the ad­e­quate sup­port that they, too, need. The irony...

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