Newsletter April 2019

Newsletteraug 18

SCF Main Group
Safer Communities Fund goes over £2.6m

Community projects in West Yorkshire have now received grants totalling over £2.6m from my Safer Communities Fund. The fund hit the milestone amount following an awards last month for the latest round of the grant scheme. 57 community projects from across West Yorkshire received a share of over £250,000 at the event which was held in Calderdale at Halifax Academy. It was another fantastic awards evening and a real pleasure to be able to provide support and funding, using money recovered from criminals, for a number of great causes. I launched the Safer Communities Fund in 2014 to help local groups make a real difference in their communities. The fund has now delivered across 15 grant rounds since then totalling £2,673,114.17 with 617 projects benefiting! The next grant round of the fund opens for applications on 15 April and more details are available on my website.

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Chief Constable Dee Collins Announces Retirement

I would firstly like to personally thank Dee for her continued dedication and hard work in often very challenging times. Her leadership through a sustained period of austerity has ensured a strong position for her successor and for the people of West Yorkshire. Dee has overseen some of the biggest events in the country and the most complicated investigations, often receiving international attention. Her contribution to policing in West Yorkshire has been exemplary, not to mention her impact on the wider service. In particular, her dedication to championing opportunities for women and leaders, which is testament to her character and will be part of her on-going legacy. I wish her all the very best for the future.

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Knife crime prevention receives a boost

An initiative to help prevent knife crime has received a boost with part funding from my Safer Communities Fund. The initiative is the brainchild of PC Mark Rothery of Leeds North East Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) who applied to the Safer Communities Fund last year. PC Rothery was successful in his application for £3500 of funding towards this joint project to target nearly 2000 school children across Leeds in an intensive week of knife crime prevention activity. The week focuses on performances of the award winning play "Terriers", written by Maurice Bessman, which highlights issues and consequences of gang culture and peer pressure. Over 300 students a day from across Leeds schools, as well as members of the local community and key partners, have been attending the event which has run over the period of a week last month.

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Chair of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC)

As part of my role as the National APCC Chair I attended a number of important events last month, starting with meeting Sara Thornton, Head of the National Police Chiefs' Council, who has also just been announced as the new Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, which she will start in May. I had a further meeting of the Police Reform and Transformation Board, continuing to look at ideas for improvements and innovation to make policing more efficient and effective. However, in the main, last month was dominated by efforts to tackle serious violence and knife crime. I attended a Serious Violence Taskforce meeting at the Home Office to discuss funding and resources, as well as prevention and early intervention initiatives. I also met with health partners to look at the affect of adverse childhood experiences and how a greater understanding of these issues could help to prevent crime, as well as a PCC engagement day at the National Crime Agency.

Original road safety films highlight 'inattentional blindness'

Four groups of young people took part in a project, supported by my Safer Communities Fund, to create content to help children who are about to move up to secondary school in Leeds stay safe on the roads. Students from Benton Park chose a wizarding theme complete with cloaks and broomsticks. Those from John Smeaton Academy investigated the effect that mobile phones have on perception. Wetherby High School opted for a musical awareness test to highlight so-called 'inattention blindness', and young people from Chapel FM Arts Centre recorded a fun three-part radio podcast with a quiz and challenge. The project was run by Leeds City Council's Influencing Travel Behaviour team in conjunction with a theatre-in-education company, The Riot Act. I was very happy to be able to provide support and funding to assist with this thoughtful project. Who better to get road safety messages to young people than young people themselves?

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Modern slavery first responders trained across the region

Front line social workers from across the Yorkshire and Humber region have received training to help tackle modern slavery.I joined forces with Hope for Justice and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) to create two training events with funding from the Modern Slavery Police Transformation Programme (MSPTP). The events were held in Leeds and Sheffield this week which saw attendees engaging in interactive exercises, videos and presentations. The comprehensive training package covered how to spot the signs and indicators of modern slavery and how to respond, safeguarding any victims in the process. Each delegate also received a 'Responding to Modern Slavery' handbook to take away with them, as well as multi-lingual flyers and posters. We will continue to work together to ensure there is no hiding place for modern slavery or those that seek to abuse other human beings.

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Child protection charity in campaign

I joined forces with a leading child protection charity to support their campaign to tackle sexual images of children online. The regional campaign represents a multi-agency approach to tackling the growing demand for sexually explicit images of children. It brings together robust law enforcement work with work already being undertaken by UK child protection charity, The Lucy Faithfull Foundation. The charity works to prevent people from viewing such illegal material in the first place; and to get them to stop if they have already started. It directs offenders to the charity's Stop It Now! Get Help website that hosts online self-help resources, as well as the Stop It Now! confidential helpline (0808 1000 900) where they can get help to address their online behaviour and stop looking at these harmful and illegal images.

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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 or call 0300 303 1971.

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