Posted: 6 November, 2015 at 9:56 am

John welcomes extra police funding but warns of cuts

MP John Healey has welcomed news that South Yorkshire Police has been awarded special grant funding of up to £5m.

The Home Secretary has agreed to the payment because of the additional pressure the Hillsborough inquests have put on the police’s already squeezed budget.

Mr Healey has previously called on the government to ensure South Yorkshire Police is properly resourced.

In the House of Commons and a subsequent letter to the police minister Mike Penning MP in February, he raised concerns about the extraordinary funding pressures facing the force – as a result of upscaling work on tackling child sexual exploitation and other exceptional factors including the Hillsborough inquiry and inquests and the cost of policing far-right marches.

Mr Healey also wrote to the Home Secretary Theresa May in March, saying she must make sure South Yorkshire Police had the resources they need to secure prosecutions on child sexual exploitation, and safeguard children in Rotherham.

He told her: “Justice is now in danger of being impeded in Rotherham because the police are increasingly unable to devote any more resources to this area. This is an urgent concern, and I hope you can tell me what you will do to ensure that South Yorkshire Police have the resources they need to investigate, charge and sentence offenders.”

Mr Healey commented: “South Yorkshire Police’s budget is being cut to the bone.

“The special grant funding is welcome, and I pay tribute to our Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Billings who has stood up for South Yorkshire and pressed the Home Secretary for this extra money.

“But the £5m is dwarfed by the £53m that has been cut from our police since 2010. And the government are set to go even further – cutting another £66m in the next five years.

“We’ve already lost 366 police officers in South Yorkshire since 2010. With these extreme cuts to come we could see police officer numbers reduced to dangerous levels and public safety being put at risk.”