Newsletter January 2017


Happy New Year

I would like to wish everyone all the best for 2017 and also thank every member of West Yorkshire Police, the Fire and Rescue Service, health services and community volunteers throughout the county who worked through the festive period. We had some challenging and deeply awful times in 2016. The brutal murder of the wonderful Jo Cox MP is a day that we will not forget, but it is also important for us to remember the incredible community response. Millions of pounds have been raised for good causes following the murder of Jo, thousands of people lined the streets of Wakefield to show their respects at the funeral of a father and daughter killed in a house fire, and there was a large and continuing response to the Boxing Day flooding in Bradford, Leeds and Calderdale over the past 12 months. I am sure 2017 will bring many challenges as well as opportunities and we will carry on learning and understanding lessons and never be complacent. I will be working tirelessly with the police, our many partners and our communities to keep West Yorkshire safe and feeling safe.

New Police and Crime Plan launched

I've launched my new Police and Crime Plan which sets the outcomes and priorities that will drive the work of my office, West Yorkshire Police and our partnership working over the next 5 years. The outcomes are, tackle crime and anti-social behaviour, safeguard vulnerable people, make sure criminal justice works for all our communities and support victims and witnesses. This new Plan takes over from the previous one and was created following an extensive consultation. New additions include priorities on safeguarding missing people, working together to prevent radicalisation, and increasing community cohesion. Many existing priorities from the previous Plan, which continue to be important to the people of West Yorkshire, do remain. I have launched the Plan with the shared vision of keeping West Yorkshire safe and feeling safe and it sets out what we are going to deliver, how we are going to deliver and how we, and importantly you, are going to know that we have delivered.

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Community Conversation survey on the policing budget

I have launched my latest Community Conversation survey with a focus on police funding ahead of setting the budget for West Yorkshire Police in the coming weeks. Since 2010 the government has cut our budget by roughly 30% at the cost of over 2,000 police jobs. The government have now provided information about how much money will be put into West Yorkshire for policing and community safety in 2017/18. This represents a further cut of 1.4% which equates to £4.17million. Last year I was able to protect the current number of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and start recruiting an extra 254 police officers, but there is still a long way to go to rebuild policing numbers. I am asking people to complete the survey to get views on a possible increase in local funding through the police element of the council tax to offset the cut from government and continue to re-build our police service. Your views are important to me and if you could spare some time to fill in this short survey I would be extremely grateful. To complete the survey visit my website or request a hard copy by contacting my office. The closing date for responses is 20th January 2017.

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West Yorkshire police officer recruitment

The next recruitment window to be a police officer runs from 9th January to 22nd January. I was pleased to be able to set a budget last year to enable the recruitment of hundreds more police officers, and once again open up the recruitment process to external candidates for the first time in many years in starting to help rebuild numbers and visibility. The New Year is classically a time for people looking for a new challenge or a change of career and being a police officer in West Yorkshire is a brilliant opportunity. I would encourage anyone interested to have a look at the fantastic resources on West Yorkshire Police's website.

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Sharing pioneering work on tackling human trafficking internationally

I attended an international summit with Kevin Hyland OBE, the UK's Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, to further work in tackling human trafficking and modern day slavery. The Summit, "Refugees Are Our Brothers and Sisters" was called by the Pope to bring urgent attention to the 125 million refugees worldwide, including the issue of human trafficking and modern day slavery. The event was held at the Vatican in Rome and was attended by key figureheads and leaders from across Europe and beyond. The Summit evaluated a number of proposals for solutions both in the short and long term; reducing risks, meeting the needs of all migrants and refugees and implementing reform for sustainable and integral development, justice and peace in countries across the world. I focused specifically on the plight of vulnerable people that are trafficked and exploited when I spoke to the delegates. We are doing some really pioneering work here in West Yorkshire and through the national PCC network, and I hope that the learning gained can be adopted elsewhere abroad to help put an end to this truly vile crime.

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Over £1.5m of recovered criminal cash returned to our communities

£1,532,632.42 recovered from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act has now been returned to West Yorkshire communities. Through my Safer Communities Fund 40 projects received a share of £167,355.47 at an awards evening held at Batley High School in December. The Fund was created to support voluntary and community groups, charities and partners to keep their communities safe and feeling safe. Grants are awarded in line with the priorities set out in the Police and Crime Plan and so far over 340 groups from across West Yorkshire have received funding to support victims, reduce and prevent crime, tackle anti-social behaviour and safeguard vulnerable people. The latest grant round is open for applications until 5pm on 20th January.

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How do you want to contact West Yorkshire Police?

I have launched a consultation along with Dee Collins, West Yorkshire Police's Chief Constable, on how the public contact West Yorkshire Police. The consultation consists of a short survey and includes questions on what contact methods people are aware of, what are the preferred contact methods, and for what reasons do people contact West Yorkshire Police. We would like to learn more about how and why you would contact your police, whether you have visited your local police station or other public enquiry counters recently and to establish whether you know about the many new ways of contacting the police that are available. This will enable us to better understand the needs of our communities as we look to deliver an improving police service into the future. To complete the survey visit Paper copies are also available by contacting the office. The survey closes on 19th January 2017.

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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:

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