Newsletter January 2018

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A message for the New Year

I would like to wish everyone all the best for 2018. 2017 had its challenges and I'd like to thank every member of West Yorkshire Police, the Fire and Rescue Service, health services, local government and community volunteers throughout the county and would ask everyone to spare a thought for their hard and inspiring work. I am sure 2018 will also bring many challenges as well as opportunities for improving our services to the people we all serve in our communities across West Yorkshire. I remain confident that working collaboratively in partnership with your support we will achieve so much again this year.

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Safer Communities Fund passes £2million as new round opens for applications

My Safer Communities Fund returned a further £152,363.06 to 33 community projects at an awards evening in Bradford in December. The Fund was launched in 2014 and has now given out £2,060,804.31 to over 463 community projects across West Yorkshire. The Fund is financed through money recovered from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act by West Yorkshire Police and prosecutors. Some examples of funded projects include Behind Closed Doors, tackling domestic abuse in Leeds, Cloverleaf Advocacy, supporting those with learning disabilities in Kirklees and Bradford LGBT Strategic Partnership, tackling hate crime in Bradford. The next round of the Safer Communities Fund opened for applications on 8th January 2018, and closes on the 9th February 2018.

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Ground-breaking forensic techniques introduced

Forensic techniques that vastly reduce the time taken to help process crime scene investigations have been introduced across the Yorkshire and Humber Region. Massive improvements in the time taken to have key evidence such as fingerprints and footprints ready for examination are giving a massive boost to detect crimes and helping to greatly speed up investigations. The project has introduced the digital transmission of forensic evidence and means that results are available to detectives in almost 'real time' instead of days. I fully support this work which has the potential to be a real game changer for police investigations. The investment in our Scientific Support services in West Yorkshire has enabled us to put our region at the cutting edge of this work which is fantastic.

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Police Funding Settlement announced

Policing Minister Nick Hurd spoke about an increase to local police forces but the same cash grant as 2017/18 is in reality a significant cut to our policing budget over the next two years when absorbing further inflation and pay increases. In his announcement in December he talked about additional flexibility for PCCs around the police precept, the policing element of the council tax, but that means more people who are already struggling in West Yorkshire unfairly penalised transferring the burden to local taxpayers. I am currently consulting on whether people are prepared to pay more for policing through their police council tax but the Policing Minister has made it clear any increase in funding for local forces needs to be a cost burden to the local taxpayer. West Yorkshire is an area of some of the greatest policing needs and despite repeated warnings, including from West Yorkshire MPs, I am disappointed that the government has refused to invest more in our local communities however I will be continuing to fight for a fairer funding deal for our county.

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Police pledge their support to Fire Service in stand against attacks on crews

West Yorkshire Police is standing shoulder to shoulder with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) in a commitment to stopping attacks on firefighters and taking every action possible to catch those responsible. In December Chief Police Officers furthered their support by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with WYFRS Chief Fire Officers to ensure the two blue light services are working as efficiently as possible together to crackdown on perpetrators. As joint Chair of the Tri- Services (Police, Fire & Ambulance) Collaboration Board, I know the importance of agreeing this MOU to ensure a process and expectations are in place on both sides to make sure those committing these despicable attacks on our emergency workers face the consequences because the relevant evidence has been gathered that gives the best possible chance of a prosecution where necessary.

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West Yorkshire working together to tackle domestic abuse

I am working with all 5 West Yorkshire Councils are working together with the White Ribbon Campaign and West Yorkshire Police to tackle domestic abuse. Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield Councils have all pledged to continue to raise awareness of domestic abuse, encourage victims to report it and support victims throughout the process. The work to tackle domestic abuse in West Yorkshire is continually growing and improving. It's so important that we receive reports, and it's crucial we all work together, with charities such as the White Ribbon Campaign, to continue to have an environment where people feel comfortable and confident to come forward. To report domestic abuse and to find out more visit www.westyorkshire.police.uk/domesticabuse, in an emergency, always call 999.

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Safer Communities Fund helps Bradford charity

As part of my Safer Communities Fund I gave a grant of £5000 to Bradford Cyrenians for their Re Start Project. The Re Start project works to house homeless people in 1 of their 10 fully furnished flats in Bradford. Once a service user has accommodation a Supported Housing Officer works intensively with them to address the issues that led them to sleep rough in the first place. The Housing Officer works in partnership with other agencies such as the police, probation service, drug and alcohol services, primary health services and mental health services in order to offer holistic individual support to each service user. Bradford Cyrenians are doing a fantastic job of supporting vulnerable people and it was a pleasure to be able to meet some of the staff personally and thank them for their efforts. It was also good to hear direct from a service user about their experiences.

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Hate crime reporting app

Stop Hate UK have launched a free hate crime reporting app. The App is available on Android and IOS platforms by going to Google Play or the Apple App Store and searching for 'Stop Hate UK'. Find out more about it here:  http://www.stophateuk.org/report-hate-crime/west-yorkshire-hate-crime-reporting-app

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