Newsletter March 2016

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Protecting frontline policing

Hundreds more police officers can now be 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. Special constables and PCSOs will continue to have the opportunity to become full time police officers with ongoing internal recruitment, but 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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'Good' HMIC PEEL assessment of West Yorkshire Police

The PEEL inspection report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) recognises overall how West Yorkshire Police (WYP) has worked really hard to meet the public's expectation regarding keeping people safe and reducing crime. WYP has been ranked as 'good' even during a time of huge government cuts and pressure on the demands placed on police officers and staff with the varied nature of policing in West Yorkshire. I will be supporting WYP in addressing the areas that have been highlighted as needing improvement around external engagement and more general communication with the public to ensure we continue to do all we can to keep our communities informed about how WYP is working to keep them safe and feeling safe. Overall this is a very positive inspection report and testament to the good progress that has been made during difficult times and to leadership and I would like to thank and congratulate West Yorkshire Police in achieving this 'good' independent assessment rating.

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West Yorkshire's Police Chiefs donate £40,000 to West Yorkshire flood victims

The Temporary Chief Constable and I are to give £40,000 to West Yorkshire flood victims. The money will be used to support the most vulnerable victims in all three areas. The floods which devastated parts of Calderdale, Leeds and Bradford on Boxing Day left an untold amount of damage which affected thousands of local people. The response from WYP and the other emergency services was a credit to them as was the response of our communities who rallied around tremendously to help. I have personally seen some of the devastation caused by the floods and have been able to visit some of the areas and organisations that have helped support the victims and businesses with the clean-up. I am delighted that we are able to provide this money to help support the most vulnerable people impacted by the floods.

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Human Trafficking Team One - Copy
Sentencing of Mohammed Rafiq for human trafficking offence

This recent case demonstrates the exceptional and ground breaking work being undertaken by West Yorkshire Police (WYP), the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and our partners to unearth and catch the perpetrators of human trafficking offences and to help rescue and protect often unwitting and very vulnerable victims. The sentence handed out to Mohammed Rafiq shows that the courts are taking this sort of exploitation activity seriously and also highlights how West Yorkshire is leading the way in the fight against modern slavery. The establishment of the dedicated WYP Human Trafficking Unit (pictured above), and the investment into that unit, as well as the West Yorkshire Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery Network, and now the National Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery Network ensures that perpetrators of this crime have no place to hide.

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West Yorkshire Police helping bereaved families

I supported West Yorkshire Police (WYP) in developing a new training package to help police officers deliver traumatic news to families who have just lost their loved ones. Working alongside the national traumatic bereavement charity - Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS) - WYP has developed a comprehensive training package to be used as a guide when speaking to families. This training guide provides officers with the appropriate support they need to allow them to provide comfort and strength to bereaved families at an extremely difficult and emotional time. It will be shared nationally with organisations who deal with such situations and I hope it makes a difficult task that bit less daunting.

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MoJ plans to scrap courts will deny access to justice

I wholeheartedly disagree with the planned closures of Wakefield and Calderdale courts and have written to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) to oppose these plans. Victims and witnesses should come first but reducing the number of courts available reduces access to local justice. Going to court can be a difficult experience for victims and witnesses - by denying local access in this way the Government is making it even more difficult for many people. As the cuts hit I will continue to work with partners and the Local Criminal Justice Board to improve services and prioritise putting video link facilities in victim's hubs for victims and witnesses in Wakefield and Halifax to help mitigate the impact of these closures. As a matter of priority, we need to look at this and see how we can move forward with our partners locally.

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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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