Newsletter March 2015



Budget proposals to pay for recruitment of 82 police officers

The West Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel supported my proposal to increase the police council tax by 1.99 per cent, which will cost taxpayers less than four pence extra a week. The increase is for the police element of the council tax and will help pay for the recruitment of 82 police officers against a back-drop of significant government cuts to the policing budget in West Yorkshire.

Although proposing this precept increase is a difficult decision in these economic times I am pleased that the Panel has supported my decision. Continuing the recruitment of police officers is important to protect the frontline as far as possible and together with partners we are working to make sure we keep communities safer and feeling safer.         

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Contact Centre

Contact centre visit

I met some of the dedicated people who answer emergency and non-emergency telephone calls on a visit to West Yorkshire Police's contact centre. Everyone who rings 999 or 101 within West Yorkshire will get through to one of the skilled and highly professional call handlers who can quickly arrange for an appropriate action to be taken. The contact centre handles over 1.25 million calls per year with an average waiting time of less than 30 seconds currently.

The centre had seen an increase in caller waiting periods for the non-emergency number at peak times last summer and a number of initiatives, such as an online crime tracker service, have been introduced to tackle this and safeguard against future exceptionally busy periods. Although it is important to note that the 999 emergency number service was never really affected.  

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Lund Park2

Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) visits

I visited both Keighley and Huddersfield NPTs and spoke with staff about policing and community safety in their areas, answering questions they raised. While in Keighley I also visited Lund Park and spoke to members of the public who live close by. There were a number of incidents of anti-social behaviour late last year that were reported to my office and I personally wanted to visit the area and speak to local people. There was a mixed response from residents but overall I was reassured to hear that these kind of incidents aren't happening on a regular basis. There are a number of environmental rather than policing issues to be discussed and we will be feeding these back to the local councillors.


Police Federation's #CutsHaveConsequences campaign

I want to reassure communities that we will continue to do all we can to make them feel safer, working ever closer with our partners, and continually consult across West Yorkshire to understand needs and concerns. However I welcome the Federation highlighting to Government how serious these cuts are impacting their members and hope the Government will sit up and take notice. Since being elected, working with council leaders, I have protected frontline policing but I have continually raised with the Home Secretary and others, that going forward the level of cuts we are experiencing means that protecting the frontline at the current level will become increasingly difficult and unsustainable.  

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SAS News

Stop and search mapping

West Yorkshire Police have joined a ground-breaking new Home Office scheme which sees details of police stops and searches mapped online. The Force is one of 14 which launched the stop and search mapping scheme on The initiative allows the public to see exactly where this important power is used and what the outcome of every stop and search is. It means for the first time people in West Yorkshire can see details like the ethnicity, gender and age range of those who are stopped and searched.

I am really pleased that communities will be able to look at this data for the first time at such a local level, and I am sure this will prompt key questions and I would encourage communities to share with me any comments, views and concerns around all aspects of stop and search.

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Wakefield Safer Places scheme

Wakefield Council has launched a new scheme to create 'safe havens' to help vulnerable people with learning disabilities, autism and dementia in the district. It will mean people will be able to get help and support from staff within Safer Places, when they are out on their own. Members of the Safer Places Scheme will carry a Safer Places Card with contact details of people who can be contacted when in difficulty. Safe havens include shops and businesses across the Wakefield district.

I pledged to do all I can to support safe place schemes and was pleased to help fund this project with a grant from my Safer Communities Fund. I have met with stakeholders and service users and it is clear that safe places are considered to be very valuable in building people's confidence, quality of life and importantly in helping them to feel safe.        

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Special Constables recruitment

Special Constables are being recruited now, for more information including videos, myth busting and the online application form, visit


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