I met with Brian Booth, Chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation, on Friday 17th November on my visit up to my constituency. Under Tory austerity, police are struggling more than ever to police their areas effectively.
Brian & I were discussing the impacts of the Tory budget on policing, about which Brian raised concerns. Brian felt, and I agree, that policing was neglected in the Budget. Despite increasing demand for public safety to be upheld, police forces have had to battle cuts that reduce their numbers on the streets.
Brian specifically mentioned that officers’ mental health has been significantly impacted by austerity. For the Federation’s Annual Charity event this year, MIND was the selected charity, demonstrating the force’s compassion to help sufferers of mental health issues. In 2017, 224 officers were off work due to mental health related illness.
Last October, although 63% of police were proud to work for the force, 68% would not recommend joining it due to current conditions. Low morale due to nationwide redundancies and wage cuts has contributed significantly to Brian’s concerns about his officers. The stress and strains of the policing job, which the Tories have failed to alleviate, also impact the force.
I look forward to maintaining my relationship with Brian as well as supporting the Federation into the future.