Newsletter April 2016

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Police and Crime Commissioner Elections

Police and Crime Commissioner elections will be held on Thursday 5th of May 2016. From 28 March we will enter the pre-election period known as Purdah. During Purdah the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner will continue day to day business but will not make any significant announcements or conduct any proactive media activity.

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Over £1.2million of recovered money given to good causes

More than 1.2 million pounds, £1,211,201.45, has now been awarded to charities, voluntary groups and other organisations across West Yorkshire under my Safer Communities Fund (SCF). At the latest awards event at Hanson Academy in Bradford, 49 successful groups and projects from the latest grant round were awarded a share of £200,658.86. The SCF is financed by money seized from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) by police and prosecutors into this fund exclusively for local community safety initiatives. Being able to give out grants from the SCF is one of the best parts of my role. It's truly heartening to see what a difference relatively small amounts of money can make in our communities and I am continually impressed by the number of organisations doing great work applying to the Fund. The excellent work of West Yorkshire Police and prosecutors enables this fund which is very much appreciated. The next round of the SCF opened for applications on 14 March with £130,000 available for good causes, more details on how to apply can be found on my website. The closing date is 15 April 2016.

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Continuing to protect frontline policing

Hundreds more police officers are in the process of being recruited and Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) numbers can be protected after the Police and Crime Panel supported my proposal to increase the police council tax by 3.6 per cent. I know that what people want is more local, visible policing and 76 percent of thousands surveyed on the budget said they were prepared to pay more for neighbourhood policing and more bobbies on the beat. This focus on frontline policing will cost taxpayers, on average, less than eight pence a week, or £4 a year and will help pay for the 565 PCSOs and the recruitment of an extra 300 police officers across West Yorkshire. For the first time since 2010 external recruitment will be open to the public. This provides a real opportunity to protect frontline policing whilst increasing the diversity of the workforce to make sure that West Yorkshire Police better represents and protects the communities we all continue to serve.

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First ever meeting of National Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery Network

The inaugural meeting of the first-ever National Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery Network that I set up took place in March. PCCs from across England and Wales attended along with Kevin Hyland, the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner and Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer, the National Police Chiefs Council lead for Modern Slavery. The network involves PCCs signing up to an agreement to take a more strategic approach to tackling the issue by sharing best practice, assisting in the identification and conviction of perpetrators, and ensuring their Chief Constables are regularly held to account on the work they are doing in tackling this all too often hidden crime. By agreeing the Terms of Reference and the Aims and Objectives it has given the network a real direction. There is a definite need for more national joined up working to raise awareness and share good practice throughout the UK and the network meets again in May to take this work forward.

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Latest meeting of my Youth Advisory Group

I held a meeting of my Youth Advisory Group (YAG) in March. The meeting was a chance for the YAG to grill myself and Temporary Assistant Chief Constable, Angela Williams on policing and community safety. Strategic direction, career highlights and the paths taken to get to our currents roles were just some of the questions asked by the group. One of my promises is to treat all young people as citizens, valuing their interests and opinions as much as any other group in the community. The group are able to express their views and comments which steer future decisions, policy and engagement with young people. The group is recruiting now, for more information visit www.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk/get-involved/youth-advisory-group/recruitment.aspx

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Street drinking in Dewsbury successfully tackled by police and partners

I visited Dewsbury to see first-hand how local police officers and partners have tackled street drinking. Late last year, there were reports of groups of drinkers congregating in the town centre intimidating shoppers and causing a general nuisance. West Yorkshire Police (WYP), in partnership with other agencies, local businesses and councillors have tackled the issue. This success just shows how Neighbourhood Policing remains the bedrock of community policing and is something I am committed to protecting through the recent budget I have agreed with WYP. The fact that organisations have been working with individuals to address their underlying issues and to support them in addressing their problems shows how vital community policing and partnership working is in helping keep our communities safe and feeling safe.

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Forced marriage campaign

A campaign was re-launched to remind people of the signs to look out for of forced marriage and honour-based violence. From June 2014, it became a crime to force someone to marry against their will and can result in a sentence of up to seven years in prison. The police can also apply for Forced Marriage Protection Orders to safeguard victims or potential victims. Anyone breaching a Forced Marriage Protection Order faces up to five years in prison. Forced marriage and honour-based violence are not acceptable and we must do everything we can to support the brave victims and witnesses who report those responsible for carrying out these crimes. Working with partners we need to raise awareness, engage with potential victims, and address how we can make it easier for victims and witnesses to report these incidents and receive the support they need. Anyone wishing to report concerns about forced marriage or honour based violence can talk to the police via 101, or 999 in an emergency or call the Karma Nirvana helpline on 0800 5999247.

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Design for new UK Police Memorial revealed

Design concepts for a new UK Police Memorial to be located at the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) have been revealed. A project by the Police Arboretum Memorial Trust, the Memorial (PAMT) will pay tribute to the United Kingdom's Police Service and honour the dedication, courage and sacrifice of its members. It has been designed following and extensive period of consultation with Police 'family' stakeholders, and will complement other memorials around the country, notably the National Police Memorial at the Mall, and both The Beat and the Police Memorial Garden, which are already located at the NMA. Being a police officer is a job like no other and we should never forget the bravery and selflessness of the men and women that paid the ultimate price to keep us and our communities safe.

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Hate crime reporting

Did you know you can now report hate crime and hate incidents online? You can find the online form and more options here: www.westyorkshire.police.uk/hatecrimereportingform

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