Newsletter July 2016

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Remembering Jo Cox

My thoughts and prayers remain with Jo's family who have shown incredible bravery since this tragic incident which has touched the lives of people of Batley and Spen, nationally and internationally, and continues to do so. I have very happy memories of Jo and will always remember her as vibrant, warm and someone who made a difference to the lives of so many. She was a great MP who I felt privileged to know. At the moment we have an ongoing criminal investigation into the circumstances that led to Jo's untimely death and it is crucially important that we let the police carry on doing their job to ensure justice for Jo's family, her colleagues and the wider community. But it is important that those who knew Jo and were touched by her incredible energy, dynamism and drive to do the right thing and help those less fortunate, have the opportunity to pay tribute to her. I also want to pay tribute to the bravery and courage of the 77-year-old man, Bernard Kenny, injured in the incident whilst trying to assist Jo. I want to again reassure people that I will do everything within my power as Police and Crime Commissioner, with West Yorkshire Police, to ensure the people of Batley and Spen, and communities across West Yorkshire are safe and feel safe at this difficult time. 

Reassurance that hate crime and hate incidents will be taken seriously

I am asking anyone concerned or affected about hate crime or hate incidents to report them to the police. I have listened to concerns raised locally and nationally around hate crime incidents, and I can't say strongly enough that hatred, violence and intolerance in any form will not be tolerated. I encourage anyone affected to come forward and report it and know that if they do, every report will be taken seriously and investigated thoroughly, putting appropriate support in place for any victims. The Help for Victims website also contains links to support organisations www.helpforvictims.co.uk.

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Over £1.3 million of recovered money given to good causes in West Yorkshire

The Safer Communities Fund has now given out over £1.3million of money recovered from criminals to good causes in West Yorkshire. At an event in Leeds last month 32 successful groups and projects from the latest grant round were awarded a share of £148,825.50 to support various initiatives. The Safer Communities Fund is financed by money seized from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA secured by police and prosecutors) which is fed into this single pot exclusively for local community safety initiatives. I am delighted to see the impact the fund has had and continues to have with all 129 wards in West Yorkshire benefitting from projects funded by the Safer Communities Fund since its creation in 2014 and was a key pledge during my recent re-election campaign. This is my eighth awards round and the next grant round will open on August 30. More details on the fund and successful projects can be found on my website

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Euro 2016 Domestic Abuse Campaign

Ahead of Euro 2016, West Yorkshire Police (WYP) and I launched a joint campaign urging fans not to 'lose it all for football'. West Yorkshire Police has a policy of positive action against perpetrators. Every report of Domestic Abuse is attended by a Police Officer and where appropriate a crime is recorded, investigated and the victim safeguarded. Leaflets and posters were distributed to pubs and clubs across the county, on social media and displayed on big screens in city centres. Officers also sent out red cards to people wanted on warrant by WYP for domestic abuse offences and directing them to hand themselves in or they will be arrested. Domestic abuse and domestic violence are completely unacceptable crimes, there's no reason for a violent or abusive home and it's something no-one should have to live with at any time. It's vital that victims know that domestic abuse is not their fault and that they do not have to put up with it. I urge any victims to report these incidents whether that is to WYP or another agency - then we can make sure everybody gets the help they need.

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Safeguarding Young People with Learning Disabilities Conference

I arranged the event with West Yorkshire Police which focused on raising awareness of the risks to children and young persons with learning disabilities and how they can be safeguarded. It followed a report Unprotected:Overprotected, commissioned by Comic Relief, that looks at how to increase understanding around the sexual exploitation of children and young people with learning disabilities. Report recommendations include getting local agencies to take an active role in raising awareness of CSE, and focusing campaigns on young people with learning disabilities. Any young person who has been a victim or a witness of sexual exploitation should have the confidence to come forward, trust that their voice will be heard and be justified in believing that the responsible authorities will make sure they and others are kept safe. This conference will help frontline practitioners to share knowledge and experience and further strengthen how we work together to prevent abuse, protect those most at risk and prosecute those who offend.

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Your Priorities, Your Plan - New Police and Crime Plan

I am continuing to consult on the new Police and Crime Plan and have had thousands of responses so far. I launched the consultation in May to find out about what matters to people across West Yorkshire and to reflect their priorities in the new Police and Crime Plan 2016-21. This Plan will set the direction for policing and community safety over the next five years and the 'Your Priorities, Your Plan' consultation involves a survey on your priorities, and sees me consulting in person over the coming months with our communities here in West Yorkshire. I would be very grateful if you could spare some time to fill in the questionnaire and encourage your family, friends and colleagues to do the same if you haven't already. Another web chat will take place on Monday 18 July where you can ask any questions you may have or tell us about your policing priorities.

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West Yorkshire Police takes part in national human trafficking prevention initiative

Police in West Yorkshire joined forces with colleagues across the country last month to take part in action to tackle human trafficking. Officers from West Yorkshire Police's Human Trafficking Unit coordinated with the National Crime Agency as part of an early summer initiative to tackle traffickers and safeguard potential victims. Partnership working with national partners is essential and is one of the reasons I created a National Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery Network with my fellow PCCs to ensure we take a more strategic approach in tackling the issue. Raising awareness among officers, staff and partners on how to spot and deal with modern slavery crime is a vital step towards increasing the number of prosecutions and convictions of traffickers who need to know they have nowhere to hide and will be dealt with. It is also the reason the dedicated Human Trafficking Unit was created, only the third of its kind in the country, to target those seeking to traffic people into West Yorkshire. West Yorkshire is leading the way in tackling this crime.

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PCSO's using post offices to deliver first class community policing

Wakefield Police are partnering with the Post Office to give residents a chance to engage with local officers. PCSO's across Wakefield District are to 'adopt' a local Post Office as part of a new initiative to give residents more opportunities to see their local officers in familiar settings. It's incredibly important that the police are accessible to all the communities of West Yorkshire. Post offices are an ideal location for this scheme and it goes to show again how crucial PCSOs are in community policing. I will continue to do my best to protect frontline, visible policing to make sure all our communities are safer and feel safe.

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Help us improve positive action recruitment

Can you help improve our recruitment website? Complete the following survey and help us to ensure that the West Yorkshire Police website contains everything potential recruits need to know.

Visit https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/KNFW95Z to complete the short survey.

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