A message for Christmas and the New Year from West Yorkshire’s PCC
Firstly, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a peaceful festive period and a happy New Year for 2020.
Once again it has been an incredibly busy and rewarding year, not without its challenges, but also with inspirational moments as police staff and officers go that extra mile to support many individuals and communities. The annual district and West Yorkshire Policing Awards again demonstrate the commitment and bravery of people to ensure our communities are safe.
In 2019 my Safer Communities Fund has given out a further £468, 592.56 to 99 projects across West Yorkshire. Many of the projects awarded grants are focusing on work around Drugs and Alcohol and interventions for young people, which is crucial to present them with alternative positive choices. This work builds on the Early Youth Intervention Fund (EYIF) programme across all five districts that help divert children and young people away from violent crime, as well as the more recent creation of a Violence Reduction Unit. (VRU) for West Yorkshire.
The VRU, which will launch officially in 2020, is investing £3.37m, with an additional £4.4m of ‘surge’ monies spent on law enforcement (Operation Jemlock). The VRU will be focussing on a whole system approach with key partners to educate, intervene earlier and prevent crime in diverting young people onto a more positive and constructive path where they can have opportunities to fulfil their potential. Bringing partners together from police, local authorities, public health, voluntary, third sector and our communities to help identify and address the drivers of serious violence locally will be key to making a real difference. It all builds on my commitment to working together to ensure our communities are safe and feel safe which is our shared vision set out in my Police and Crime Plan.
A key role for me as the PCC is to champion the interests of victims and I am really pleased to be able to launching my new Victims Strategy in early 2020 which builds on all the good work that my office and commissioned services have been doing to support victims. Again what is needed is a “whole system” partnership response and that is what the new Victims Strategy is designed to achieve.
Securing the best funding deal we can for policing and community safety remains top of the agenda and I will be continuing to lobby government directly with West Yorkshire Police to achieve the resources that we still desperately need to continue to rebuild the numbers of frontline police, staff and strengthening neighbourhood policing remains a key priority for me and our communities. We cannot afford to be complacent around that as I know how important policing and community safety is to the public of West Yorkshire after many years of austerity.
Finally, I’d like to thank all who work to help keep communities safe and feeling safe, and to recognise and say an extra thank you to all policing and the emergency service staff who will be sacrificing time with loved ones over the festive period to continue keeping us all safe, you are in our thoughts and it is greatly appreciated.
With very best wishes to you, your colleagues and families over Christmas and the New Year.