Dr Alan Billings, Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire, has issued the following statement in advance of a question to the House of Commons on Monday by Rother Valley MP Alexander Stafford in relation to police officer numbers.
“I was surprised to see that next week in questions to the Home Secretary, the MP for Rother Valley is asking what steps her department is taking to increase the number of police officers.
“If this is a question about police officer numbers nationally, we all know the answer to that. By the time of the next general election, the government wants to restore the 20,000 officers it cut from 2010 onwards. In the next financial year they will fund 6,000 towards that total. To that end it is making funding available through the police grant. Nevertheless, since decisions about numbers are taken by Police and Crime Commissioners after consulting their Chief Constables, this still requires individual PCCs to accept the funding for the national uplift.
“As far as South Yorkshire goes, I put forward my proposals for the budget and precept for the coming year at a meeting of the Police and Crime Panel on 3 February, so they are in the public domain, including details about numbers.
“I will use the funding in Home Office grant to recruit an additional 149 officers in line with the national uplift, though we are required to send 7 of these officers to the Regional Crime Unit (ROCU) in Wakefield.
“But the MP might also note that I will go beyond that and fund from local resources a further 79 officers. This makes a total of 228 additional officers for South Yorkshire in the next financial year.
“So these are the figures for additional officers in the budget I am proposing for South Yorkshire police next year:
National uplift 142 plus 7 for the ROCU
Local uplift 79
“These numbers are all determined locally and I would have been happy to give them to the MP had he asked.”