Statement from Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s PCC, on the Home Office release of the Serious Violence Strategy today (9 April 2018)

Mr Burns-Williamson said: "I, of course, acknowledge the government's strategy launched today to help prevent serious violence including knife crime. With such serious crimes on the rise it is right that we all work better together to tackle this violence that devastates lives.

"Early intervention and prevention are key to addressing violent crime and here in West Yorkshire I have been providing extra resources through the Safer Communities Fund (Proceeds of Crime) and monies for partnership working to fund local initiatives to tackle knife and gang crime at the earliest stage, but also to better support the police in being able to protect people from harm.

"I attended a recent roundtable event in London with the Home Secretary Amber Rudd, other PCCs and partners looking at the work we need to do to tackle knife and gang crime particularly, but the government cannot tackle serious violence effectively with a national strategy alone. 

"It is well known that since 2010 West Yorkshire's policing budget has been cut by over a third at the cost of over 2000 police jobs due to austerity measures. As PCC, with the public's support, I have been putting extra resources into police recruitment but there is a long way to go to rebuild the numbers especially into Neighbourhood Policing and establishing vital community links.

"As the report from the Home Office shows, there is a clear link between the numbers of police officers and the rise in violent crime and the Government need to accept that cuts to policing and, with regards prevention even more importantly the cuts to youth services, have had a serious impact and have contributed in violent crime rising.

"The continued cuts to policing, youth services and wider pressures within the criminal justice system have come at such a very real cost. I hope that the government will now demonstrate its commitment to tackling serious violence by providing areas of real need such as West Yorkshire with the resources to prevent serious violence from happening in the first place and to help the police here do their job, keeping people in West Yorkshire safe and feeling safe."

© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2019