Newsletter March 2019

Newsletteraug 18

Reducing Reoffending Strategy launched

I officially launched the West Yorkshire Reducing Reoffending Strategy last month, which sets out a framework for reducing reoffending and crime over the next 2 years. The launch followed extensive consultation. Criminal justice partners, the third sector, service users and strategic leads are among those who have played a part in the creation of the document, which builds upon existing research and policy. It is underpinned by a new Reducing Reoffending Board, which will continue to consult, contribute and help to promote key areas of this work. Reducing reoffending is central to achieving the outcomes in my Police and Crime Plan and specifically the overall vision of keeping West Yorkshire safe and feeling safe.

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Reducing Reoffending Strategy Launch

Budget provides frontline focus

Despite the backing of many of our local MPs and multiple representations to the Home Secretary and Treasury, it became clear that the Government would not increase spending on policing to the required level. Instead it turned towards Police and Crime Commissioners to generate extra funding through the police precept (the police element of Council Tax). Before making a decision on the local precept I made sure that I captured the views from our communities and launched a consultation in December 2018. Over 3200 people responded to the consultation with 72% indicating that they would support an increase in the precept, which equates to £24 extra a year for Band D properties, if it paid for extra officers. Approximately 61% of households in West Yorkshire are, however, in Bands A and B, which means around 31p extra per week for Band 'A' and 36p per week for Band 'B' with the police precept still being the 3rd lowest in England and Wales. The new budget will see an additional 264 officers and specialist staff recruited into protecting local communities, with Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) numbers also being maintained over the next 12 months. Although it is with some reluctance that I have had to call upon local taxpayers to achieve it, the budget I have set caters for the issues of greatest threat to our communities and provides more sustainability and affordability for the future in the absence of greater central funding.

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ASDA WYP Cyber Comp 2019 (71)
Carlton Bolling College win cyber crime schools competition

Bradford based Carlton Bolling College won my joint schools cyber crime competition which was run in conjunction with West Yorkshire Police and sponsored by Asda. The competition challenged pupils from years 7,8 and 9 from schools across the county to design a resource to help keep people safe online. 17 projects were entered into the competition with a handful of schools going through to the grand final held in February at West Yorkshire Police's Learning and Development Centre in Wakefield. Carlton Bolling College won the competition with their entry, a play and rap covering online grooming. Tackling cyber crime and keeping our communities safe is a key focus and a major part in tackling these issues is raising awareness of the relatively simple steps you can take to keep yourselves and your loved ones safe. Who better to help with that than young people themselves who are often at the forefront of technology and much more digitally aware than most adults, something these students definitely proved in bringing the issue of cyber crime awareness to life.

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Chair of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioner's (APCC)

As part of my role as the National APCC Chair I attended a number of important events last month, starting with the Strategic Command Course which is run by the College of Policing for aspiring Chief Officers and Chief Executives. I spoke about the role of PCC's and the working relationship with Chief Constables. Later in the month I joined the Home Office Front Line Review Steering Group where we discussed ideas for change and improvements in policing. I finished off February at the Police Reform and Transformation Board where attendees look at ideas for improvements and innovation to make policing more efficient and effective across England and Wales. 

Knife crime prevention event for school children

School children from across Leeds were warned of the dangers of getting involved in knife crime by people who have seen the devastating consequences of it first-hand. The young students heard inputs from a mother whose son was stabbed to death in Leeds, a wife of a man serving a considerable prison sentence for knife violence, someone seriously injured by a knife and also someone who spent time inside for knife crime. They were also shown some of the basics of crime scene investigation work and some first aid skills. The event, which took place last month, was held at the Force's Training and Development Centre was funded by money from m Safer Communities Fund. Tackling serious violent crime remains an absolute priority and I am doing all I can alongside our partners to address the problems across West Yorkshire.

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Parents and guardians urged to know what their children are doing online

West Yorkshire Police has teamed up with key partners to encourage parents and guardians to know what their children are doing online. The NSPCC, Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership and my office are helping the Force to encourage people to have a five minute chat with their children as part of the #YourChild campaign. The aim of the campaign is to encourage parents and guardians to find out more about their children's online activity. Just a quick discussion could help stop youngsters from falling victim to cyber criminals looking to prey on the vulnerability of children. The ever expanding online environment means that our children are increasingly exposed to the potential of exploitation and abuse. The forms in which this can manifest itself are not, however, immediately obvious, without the correct knowledge and insight. This is why it is incredibly important that parents and carers take a central role in educating both themselves and their children.

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£20,000 donation to Police Treatment Centres

Myself and the Temporary Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, John Robins, made a £20,000 donation to the Police Treatment Centres. The Police Treatment Centres is a registered charity which provides treatment and support, for injured and ill police officers and retired officers. The donation was made using the Police Property Act Fund which contains money from the sale of property connected with crime and can only be used for charitable donations. The Centres do fantastic work and I was pleased to be able to see and hear about all their work on a recent visit and make this donation to such a worthy cause. The health and wellbeing of police officers is absolutely paramount. They risk an awful lot to keep our communities safe and it is only right that we reciprocate in helping contribute towards very valuable services and facilities that the centre offers to thousands of officers each year.

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If you've been affected by crime, Victim Support can give you the help you need to move forward. Their services are free, confidential and available to anyone in England and Wales, regardless of whether the crime has been reported or how long ago it happened. To find out more about their services visit www.victimsupport.org.uk or call 0300 303 1971.

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