Newsletter June 2016

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Police and Crime Commissioner Elections

I was delighted and honoured to have been re-elected, with nearly 300,000 votes, as your Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for a further four-year term. The voter turnout in West Yorkshire of 35% was the highest in England. I now look forward to working with you all continuing to serve the communities of West Yorkshire and know that there is still a great deal more to do with police, valued partners and colleagues within my office to ensure we are making a real difference together. I would like to say a big thank you to people across West Yorkshire who have come out once again and put their trust in me as their Police & Crime Commissioner, to be a strong voice for West Yorkshire and to do what is right for our county and communities in keeping them safe and feeling safe.

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Your Priorities, Your Plan

I have launched a big conversation 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, but will also see me consulting in person over the coming months with all of 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. A social media campaign #YourPrioritiesYourPlan on Twitter and Facebook will also form part of the campaign urging people to make their views known to help inform the plan as well as a web chat and a number of other engagement opportunities.

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More to be done to increase diversity and inclusion among West Yorkshire Police

A Home Affairs Select Committee report was published in May which called for "urgent and radical" action on police diversity. I have worked with the Temporary Chief Constable to ensure we are doing all we can to ensure communities are aware of my commitment to equality and diversity within the organisation and in the police service. I have and continue to encourage applications from all under- represented groups and ensured our recruitment campaign is shared as widely as possible with key community leaders across West Yorkshire. This information also details the support available to assist candidates, from under-represented groups, to help them prepare for the recruitment process, which has included a series of ongoing recruitment support seminars. We also opened a Positive Action workshop in March that was aimed at working with community representatives to help start conversations around perceived barriers to recruitment within West Yorkshire Police and establish whether there were cultural barriers within communities that we were unaware of that we could address as my aim is, and continues to be, working with West Yorkshire Police, to promote and achieve a fully inclusive workforce to reflect the communities that we serve.

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West Yorkshire Policing Awards 2016

West Yorkshire Police officers and staff were honoured for their incredible achievements at its annual awards ceremony. The West Yorkshire Policing Awards recognises exceptional performance, under categories such as extraordinary public service, protection of vulnerable victims, crime investigation and bravery. These awards highlight the fantastic work carried out by officers and staff every day to ensure our communities remain safe. West Yorkshire is an area with some of the greatest policing and community safety needs and the fact is that every day officers and staff go that extra mile to ensure communities are safer and feel safer, so these awards are crucial in recognising the outstanding contributions made and I am proud to be part of them. The high standard of nominations are testament to the commitment of officers and staff and this year was no exception, highlighting the commitment and dedication shown by individuals in what can be very challenging and life threatening circumstances.

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Cyber Crime Campaign

West Yorkshire Police and I launched a campaign to warn about the dangers of so-called cyber crime which has been identified as one of the major 21st century threats to policing. The Force, which is only one of a handful across the country with a dedicated cyber unit, is looking to spread the word about the dangers of the crime and the devastating impact it can have on people's lives. Since the creation of the Cyber Unit in October 2015 they have supported 632 reports which include 14 murders, 5 attempt murders, 32 rapes, 135 sexual reports and supported 100 missing people enquires. A Cyber Independent Advisory Group which comprises of key partners from across the UK, formed specifically to tackle cyber crime, has also been set up. My office, the NSPCC, the Bradford Deaf Centre, Sheffield Hallam University, Barclays Bank, the National College of Policing, Trading Standards, Stonewall, the Home Office, Victim Support and Leeds Beckett University are all represented on the group. Cyber crime is a key threat to our communities and that is why I made funding available to create the Cyber Unit. I would urge anyone who thinks they may have been a victim, or anyone that would like some advice on staying safe online, to contact West Yorkshire Police.

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Psychoactive Substances Act comes into force

Legislation has come in to force changing the law around the production and distribution of psychoactive substances, commonly known as 'legal highs'. From 26 May it is illegal to produce, supply, offer to supply, possess with intent to supply, import or export psychoactive substances. The new legislation targets those who sell these potentially lethal substances and provides the police with greater powers to take action against those who produce or supply them. I have previously called for the existing laws to be tightened up to reflect this rapidly changing problem facing our communities. With more psychoactive substances constantly introduced into the market West Yorkshire Police have been at the forefront of leading the way with partners in tackling this growing problem. It's also very important that retailers and others know about the human impact and their moral responsibility to stop selling these drugs which we now know can devastate families and the lives of those that use them. I welcome that the police will now have greater and appropriate powers to ensure those breaking the law are dealt with severely in trying to lessen the very harmful wider impact on our streets and in communities.

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Funding boost for Leeds motorbike project

Cash recovered from criminals is giving a boost to a charity that gives young people the chance to channel their energies into off-road biking. Birstall Urban Motorcycle Project for Youth (BUMPY) received a grant of £4,740 from the Safer Communities Fund. The funding also sees police off-road bikers from Leeds District working with young people at the scheme to pass on some of their skills and expertise. BUMPY, provides a safe and supervised environment where young people of all abilities can learn to ride motorbikes on and off road and also how to maintain the machines. I am continually impressed by the work of the schemes that get funded and BUMPY is no exception. Building community relationships is a key part of policing and being able to do that while also promoting safe and responsible behaviour is a bonus.

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Help for Victims website

The Help for Victims website was created and launched with the sole purpose of supporting victims and witnesses of crime. Anyone who feels they are a victim or witness to a crime and don't know where to go for help please visit www.helpforvictims.co.uk

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