Newsletter April 2017

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Could you volunteer to be an Independent Custody Visitor?

I am looking for community focused compassionate individuals to join my volunteer Independent Custody Visitor (ICV) scheme. When a person is arrested by the police, they are taken to a custody suite where they are detained whilst the details of the case are investigated. To promote transparency, and provide reassurance to communities about the treatment of detainees, an Independent Custody Visiting scheme is in place. The scheme enables members of the community to observe, comment and report on the conditions under which persons are detained at police stations. ICVs are volunteers, over the age of 18, from a variety of backgrounds and different communities, all whom live or work within West Yorkshire. Issues raised by ICVs are dealt with anonymously by my office, and are taken up directly with West Yorkshire Police. ICVs can enter a custody suite unannounced at any time and are expected to make at least 24 visits spread evenly over a 12 month period. The recruitment window closes on Sunday 23 April 2017.

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Nearly £1.7m of recovered criminal cash returned to good causes across West Yorkshire

I have now returned just under £1.7m of money recovered under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) back to the communities it came from. 42 projects from across West Yorkshire shared £172,118.37 at an awards evening in Halifax last night for the latest round of my Safer Communities Fund. Over 380 projects have now received grants totalling £1,699,750.79 since the fund launched in February 2014. The aim of the fund is to keep West Yorkshire safe and feeling safe and groups can apply for grants of up to £5000.The fund is financed through money recovered under POCA which allows police and prosecutors to seize assets which criminals gained through vicarious means. This is a fantastic group of innovative and worthwhile projects and I am looking forward to seeing the difference they make in our communities over the coming months. The next round of the Safer Communities Fund opens for applications on 24 April 2017.

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Specialist multiagency task force to tackle financial exploitation

I have joined forces with West Yorkshire Trading Standards to create the West Yorkshire Financial Exploitation and Abuse Team. The team is made up of co-located specialists from West Yorkshire Police, adult social care and Trading Standards and will enhance collaborative working across a range of partners, with a focus on investigating financial exploitation and abuse of vulnerable and older victims. The team will be looking to tackle scams and frauds from third party offenders such as doorstep criminals, mass marketing frauds by phone, post and electronic channels, and wider financial abuse of vulnerable people including that committed by family members or carers. Crimes such as these can have a really detrimental effect on the victim and their quality of life going forward. This team will protect people from these heartless criminals, help to bring the perpetrators to justice, fully support victims and reduce repeat victimisation.

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Recovered criminal cash helping to reduce re-offending and support victims in Bradford and Keighley

Bradford Court Chaplaincy Service (BCCS) is an independent charity based at both Bradford and Keighley Magistrates' Court and Bradford Combined Court Centre.They offer free practical, non-judgemental and confidential support to all court users including victims, witnesses, defendants and their families. A £4,760 grant from my Safer Communities Fund allowed for 2 additional paid support sessions each week, supporting an additional 400 people. The additional sessions work face-to-face with people needing support to help with problems such as alcohol, bereavement, debt management, domestic violence, drugs, abuse, forced marriage, homelessness, mental health issues and parenting support. In the case of offenders this support can help to break the cycle of re-offending by targeting the root cause of the offending. I was very pleased to be able to provide some funding for this project which is providing a really valuable service at a time and place that can be extremely stressful and emotional for those involved.

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Joining roads policing operation in Huddersfield

I joined a two-day proactive operation in Kirklees as part of a visit to Huddersfield Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT). From 26-27 March, officers took to the roads as part of Operation Transpark for vehicle checks with the aim to tackle criminals using the roads. Over the course of the two days, the operation was very successful with a number of arrests and seizures of drugs, weapons and vehicles. This was a fantastic bit of policing with some really tangible results. The officers behind the operation are incredibly dedicated in keeping our communities safe and it was great to meet them personally and see their hard work first hand while out in Huddersfield.

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Coercive and controlling behaviour conference

I chaired the afternoon session at a conference run by British Human Rights charity Karma Nirvana on 'Coercive and Controlling Behaviour;' in Leeds last month. The Serious Crime Act 2015 created a new offence of controlling and coercive behaviour and this conference was targeted at raising awareness of this legislation. Tackling so called "honour" based abuse remains a focus and priority in my new Police and Crime Plan and I will continue to work with the police and other partners, such as West Yorkshire based Karma Nirvana, to raise awareness of these issues, encourage victims to come forward and help to provide the proper and dedicated support needed. Often the victims of so called "honour" based abuse can feel totally isolated and find it very difficult to come forward for a number of reasons. It's crucial that conferences such as this one on coercive and controlling behaviour are held to re-inforce a wider understanding of these issues and how new legislation can be implemented positively.

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Spring into action against burglars

West Yorkshire Police is reminding people of the simple steps they can take to help prevent themselves becoming a victim of burglary. I don't want a single person across West Yorkshire to come home and find that they've been burgled. It's an absolutely horrible experience and one that we are doing everything we can to help prevent. This is an eye catching campaign and there is a serious message behind it. There are some simple measures, such as making sure your locks are up to standard and locking your doors and windows, that you can take to drastically reduce your chances of being targeted by callous thieves. If you are the victim of a burglary or you would like some crime prevention advice, contact West Yorkshire Police or visit their website for further information. West Yorkshire Police also have District crime prevention officers who are there to support members of the public in helping you to prevent crime. To contact your local crime prevention officer call 101.

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Hate crime reporting app

Stop Hate UK have launched a free hate crime reporting app. The App is available on Android and IOS platforms by going to Google Play or the Apple App Store and searching for 'Stop Hate UK'. Find out more about it here:  http://www.stophateuk.org/report-hate-crime/west-yorkshire-hate-crime-reporting-app

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