Funding announced to crack unsolved murder and rape cases (25 Jun 2015)

The West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner has announced over £1.5m worth of funding to employ extra staff to help crack historical unsolved murder and rape cases.

Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson has pledged the money - £1.592 million - to help West Yorkshire Police work though old cases which remain unsolved.

The money will allow the Force to employ a team of 35 new investigators.

Mark Burns-Williamson, said:
"As Police and Crime Commissioner, victims of crime are at the heart of everything I do.

"I regularly speak personally to families who have lost loved ones or victims who themselves have suffered horrific crimes but never seen anyone brought to account for what happened.

"I have witnessed first-hand the pain and anguish that families and victims have gone through - not knowing what happened, why it happened or who did it.

"You cannot fail to be moved by what people have to say - ordinary folk who have had their lives turned upside down and have had to live with the memory of what happened ever since. The pain never goes away and is made even worse by not knowing what happened.

"There are still people out there, in our communities, enjoying their liberty, who are responsible for terrible crimes. They present a real threat of further harm and need bringing to justice.

"West Yorkshire Police never closes a case until someone is brought to justice but time and resources can mean that a backlog of historical cases can build up which can impact on current cases that also require attention. This new team will be part of the Homicide and Major Enquiry Team (HMET) and focus entirely on cold cases, allowing the current team of detectives at HMET to focus their attention and efforts on current cases.

"There have been some incredible advances in forensic techniques over the years which can help bring criminals to justice from years ago but also mean that the HMET team and Major Investigation Review Team have an ever increasing workload of cases. This is good news of course, but needs to be effectively resourced.

"More and more people who thought they had got away with it are now safely behind bars but there is always more that can be done.

"This money has been found from spending reviews and will fund the team for a year and a half. With more cuts on the way it is hard to imagine such a figure being found again, but in the meantime the aim is to have a big impact on a number of significant legacy cases."

Superintendent Simon Atkinson from the Homicide and Major Enquiries Team (HMET) welcomes the funding, he said,

"We have seen that, despite the passage of years and even decades, historical cases can be solved and those responsible brought to justice.

"West Yorkshire Police is committed to finding the answers that the relatives of these victims are so desperately seeking.

"This significant investment will give HMET the additional resources needed to focus on these cold cases, whilst still being able to fully investigate current cases.

 

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