Hundreds sign our petition to save police funding

York Press: Anna Bevan, left, and Emily Hodgson collect signatures at the Fund Our Force stall in Parliament Street Anna Bevan, left, and Emily Hodgson collect signatures at the Fund Our Force stall in Parliament Street

HUNDREDS of people have signed The Press's Fund Our Force petition after we took the campaign on to the streets of York.

The petition, which was launched last week, calls on the Government to abandon plans for a new police funding formula which could mean a £10 million reduction in the county force's grant.

The proposals, which are out to consultation, would disadvantage rural areas with high visitor numbers and low crime rates, such as North Yorkshire, in favour of urban areas with high crime levels.

A loss of this amount is equivalent to 300 officers' salaries and Chief Constable Graham Maxwell has said that if the changes were brought in they would have a "devastating" impact.

City of York Council yesterday gave permission for The Press to organise a stall in Parliament Street, and shoppers flocked to sign our petition forms.

One police officer, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "We're stretched as it is. We bounce from job to job and half the time we don't even get proper breaks. There's just not enough staff."

Leonard Nattrass, 80, of Strensall, criticised the proposals, saying: "It's ridiculous that it's necessary to take away police when crime levels appear to be mounting."

However, some citizens were critical of the current state of the force, with one man claiming: "We need more bobbies on the beat!"

The Press is planning to collect more signatures in Parliament Street later this week.

Meanwhile, the Association of Police Authorities (APA) - which includes the North Yorkshire authority - has renewed calls for police funding that ensures policing can be sustained for all communities in England and Wales.

Speaking ahead of the Government's publication of the Comprehensive Spending Review, which will set police funding for the next three years, the association's chairman, Bob Jones, said: "Many police authorities are facing tough financial times ahead. That is why the APA is today renewing its calls for Government to give police authorities freedom to raise funding locally without the threat of capping.

"We know from our consultations with local people that they want to see policing sustained and they are willing to pay for it.

"Investment in policing services, both national and local over recent years has improved policing a great deal - the chances of becoming a victim of crime are now at their lowest level for 25 years.

"It would be a huge setback for our communities if this is not sustained, and there is a risk that the valuable improvements could begin to erode. Continued investment now is essential to help police authorities ensure Sustainable Policing continues for all communities, and will pay dividends in the future."

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