West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner response to the HMIC Child Protection inspection of West Yorkshire Police (13 Jan 2015)

Mr Burns-Williamson, the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, said: "Protecting our children is of vital importance as I have made absolutely clear in the Police and Crime Plan and have discussed regularly with the Chief Constable.

"All agencies have a responsibility to work together to safeguard children and an action plan has been developed following a series of meetings I initiated with West Yorkshire Police and partners to identify what more needs to be done collectively with partners.

"Last February I made an extra £3.5million available to the police for increased capacity to deal with CSE, Human Trafficking and Cyber Crime.

"Recently, £1.5million of that money paid for up to 30 specialist investigators to progress enquiries in the growing number of reported offences. This is all around strengthening our safeguarding response in West Yorkshire.

"On the back of the Rotherham report published in September, I called an urgent meeting with all the safeguarding experts from across West Yorkshire to ensure we are sharing best practice and see what can be done better in West Yorkshire.

"I have made an additional £467,000 commitment to initiate further work to address CSE which aims to increase awareness in schools and to offer more support to victims including the creation of the Help for Victims website at www.helpforvictims.co.uk.

"The money will also fund the creation of a Safeguarding Advisor post to co-ordinate the work that all safeguarding experts are doing to ensure we are all working collectively and consistently to protect children across the county.

"It is important to note that the HIMC report was completed last August and a number of positives were identified in the report such as cases where frontline officers demonstrated good awareness of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and took decisive action to protect children from harm.

"However, there were also serious concerns identified by HMIC including West Yorkshire Police devolving responsibility to the five districts resulting in inconsistent practice and concerns about the consistency of CSE investigations.

"I will be seeking an immediate update from the Temporary Chief Constable to make sure the force has implemented all the recommendations included in the report and the progress made on implementing the action plan as agreed by partners.

"This area of work would benefit from a joint inspection on safeguarding which is inherently a partnership responsibility and I have previously raised this with HMIC.

"Here in West Yorkshire, we are working better together to ensure safeguarding vulnerable children remains a top priority for police and partners and that we are doing everything we can to protect our children from harm.

"The risks and demands that are placed on the police and our safeguarding partners are significantly increasing at a time when the government is making severe cuts to all of our budgets. The police budget alone in West Yorkshire Police will have been reduced by £163.5million by 2016//17."

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