Newsletter August 2017

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The Safer Communities Fund tops £1.9m!

I returned a further £213, 940.46 to community projects at the latest awards night for my Safer Communities Fund. The Fund is financed through money recovered from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act and this latest round brings the total amount of money returned to West Yorkshire communities to a massive £1.9m! 50 projects were successful in the latest round which invited groups to apply for funding who were looking to address one or more of the following priorities within the Police and Crime Plan, community cohesion, missing people, radicalisation and road safety. Some examples of funded projects include a support programme for parents of children that go missing and are at risk of exploitation, a project looking to train young ambassadors from schools on how to spot the signs of radicalisation and build community cohesion, an initiative to improve road safety by running family awareness and sessions where families will be able to make signs to encourage drivers to slow down. The next round of the Safer Communities Fund has a general theme and opens for applications on 4 September 2017.

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Victim Support launch live chat service

Victims of crime have another way of accessing support after Victim Support received a cash boost to fund a live web chat service. I allocated £13,000 funding to the charity to fund a pilot of their West Yorkshire Live Chat service until March 2018. It means victims of crime can talk online to a specially trained supporter, increasing the options of face to face or the telephone, to access support and advice. The money comes from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) Victims and Witness grant. The service is available from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday across West Yorkshire via the Victim Support website. It will be only one of a few areas across the country where Victim Support, the current victim service provider in the West Yorkshire operates, that is using and trying out this service. I am very pleased to be able to support this Live Chat service pilot as being a victim of crime can have a significant impact on a person's life, on their family and in their community, so accessing timely support in this way is vital. For more information visit https://www.victimsupport.org.uk/help-and-support/get-help/support-near-you/live-chat or call Victim Support on 0300 303 1971.

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Urging people with suspicions around human trafficking to call the national Modern Slavery Helpline

I am supporting and promoting the Modern Slavery Helpline across West Yorkshire and urging anyone with suspicions about someone being exploited or trafficked to call on 0800 0121 700. Launched in 2016, the helpline has so far received 1,799 calls and made 1,051 referrals with more than 2,000 potential modern slavery victims indicated. West Yorkshire has already led the way nationally in tackling human trafficking and modern day slavery and the helpline is another important part of this. The helpline operates 24/7 with fully trained specialist staff who provide bespoke support as well as gathering information and intelligence on modern slavery/human trafficking. General indicators of human trafficking or modern slavery can include signs of physical or psychological abuse, fear of authorities, no ID documents, poor living conditions and working long hours for little or no pay.

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Hitting the streets with Wakefield Neighbourhood Policing Team

I had a busy day in Wakefield last month going out on patrol with the local Neighbourhood Policing Team and visiting the Customer Contact Centre. I started the day by meeting with Wakefield Rural Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) where I spoke to Inspector Helen Brear about policing issues affecting the local area before joining the team on a patrol. I then visited West Yorkshire Police's Customer Contact Centre which is also based in Wakefield. On average, the call centre handles over 4,000 contacts a day with an average queue time for emergency calls of 4 seconds and 45 seconds for the non-emergency number. It was great to spend some time with these teams who really are on the frontline of fighting crime and helping our communities. These are fantastically dedicated people, focused on keeping us all safe and it's really important for me to get the opportunity to meet and thank them in person and hear about the daily challenges they face.

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West Yorkshire third sector organisations invited to partnership conference

I'm inviting West Yorkshire third sector organisations to my annual conference. The event takes place in Halifax on 9th November and will include guest speakers, Q&As and workshops. The aim of the conference is to build on existing relationships so that the police and third sector work more closely together to deliver the outcomes in the Police and Crime Plan. This year's event promises to be popular so get the date in your diary and reserve your place by e-mailing [email protected]

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Tackling forced marriage and "honour" based abuse

I launched a new campaign with West Yorkshire Police highlighting the issues forced marriage and honour-based abuse. The launch coincided with the third annual national day of remembrance for victims of "honour" killings today, Friday 14 July. The 14 July was the birthday of Shafilea Ahmed, originally from Bradford, who was killed by her parents in Warrington after suffering honour-based violence and an attempted forced marriage. Tackling "honour" based abuse remains a focus and priority in my Police and Crime Plan 2016-21 and I will continue to work closely with the police and other key partners, such as Karma Nirvana, to raise awareness of these difficult issues, encourage victims and survivors to come forward and help to provide the proper and dedicated support needed. Anyone wishing to report concerns about forced marriage or honour based violence, whether for themselves or someone they know, can talk to the police via 101, or 999 in an emergency. People can also contact other agencies for support, such as Karma Nirvana on 0800 5999 247 and the NSPCC on 0800 1111.

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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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