11 community safety projects and initiatives have been given a cash injection of nearly £1million by West Yorkshire’s PCC (9 July 2018)

The PCC, Mark Burns-Williamson, has made an ongoing financial commitment of £1million to his Partnership Executive Group (PEG) as £879,665 was recently approved for 11 different projects to help tackle various crime and community safety initiatives.

Previously, the money has been used to help employ mental health nurses in police control rooms, funding a Safeguarding Advisor to tackle Child Sexual Exploitation and for the establishment of the West Yorkshire Financial Exploitation and Abuse Team with the local Trading Standards.

This time projects include helping to steer youngsters away from a life of crime, supporting victims of domestic violence, community engagement training of West Yorkshire Police, collaboration work with emergency services, safeguarding projects and investigating the use of social media in preventing youth violence.

One of the projects has been awarded money to offer legal advice to all victims and survivors of domestic abuse who are not eligible for legal aid. Staying Put will deliver the service to ensure the most disadvantaged victims of domestic abuse are able to access legal advice and representation at a fraction of the cost.

West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark-Burns-Williamson, said: "I am really pleased to be able to continue supporting such crucial partnership working in meeting the priorities and outcomes set out within my Police and Crime Plan, including safeguarding vulnerable people, supporting victims and witnesses, tackling crime/anti-social behaviour and tackling hate crime.

"All the successful projects are doing essential work to ensure we are supporting some of our most vulnerable, investing in projects that look at early intervention and diversionary programmes to prevent offending and reoffending.

"The fund was significantly oversubscribed with more than £3million applied for demonstrating the need for resources to ensure we are working together on early intervention and prevention programmes to help keep our communities safe and feeling safe."

For more information on projects click here.

Get Away and Get Safe received £50,000 (Case Study)

A project aimed at tackling organised crime has been given £50,000 by the PCC so it can continue when the school year restarts in September.

The Get Away 'N' Get Safe Gangs Prevention Programme, which aims to steer over 1500 primary school children across West Yorkshire away from a life of crime, started in February.

It was initially funded by West Yorkshire Police's POCA (Proceeds of Crime Act) fund which takes money away from criminals and reinvests it back into positive community projects and can now continue thanks to the Partnership Executive Group (PEG) funding.

Created by James Riley who spent over 18 years working as a Probation Officer specialising in gangs in Merseyside, 11 schools across the region, including Leeds and Bradford, have benefited from the five-hour programme. Children's Commissioner Anne Longfield, attended one of the Leeds schools a few weeks ago to see the work being done.

Mr Riley said: "The programme is all about changing a young person's thinking, getting them to be brave, confident and inspire them to follow their dreams.

"My experience of working with street gangs and organised crime groups made me realise that many of these individuals did not fully understand the lifestyle they had become involved in and many wished they could turn back the clock.

"Sadly for some individuals they were exploited at a young age sometimes following a simple act of being "befriended" by someone with an ulterior motive. It made me realise that early intervention was a key to change the future of our young people. It is important that we do everything we can to safeguard the young people of West Yorkshire.

"It is a community initiative and I am determined to change the culture of young people believing it's wrong to speak to the Police. Grassing or snitching is a phrase I am determined to change.

"I want the young people to realise that speaking up is the right thing to do and it saves lives. Changing this culture demonstrates the success of the Get Away 'N' Get Safe program."

Mark Burns-Williamson, added: "It is only right we all work together to help prevent serious violence including knife crime and that includes early intervention and prevention to safeguard our young people's future.

"Here in West Yorkshire I have been providing extra resources through the Safer Communities Fund (Proceeds of Crime) and these extra monies for partnership working to fund local initiatives to tackle knife and gang crime at the earliest stage, but also to better support the police in being able to protect people from harm.

"As the recent Serious Violence report from the Home Office shows, there is a clear link between the numbers of police officers and the rise in violent crime, and the Government need to accept that cuts to policing and, with regards prevention even more importantly the cuts to youth services, have had a serious impact and have contributed to more risks around violent crime.

"So I am really pleased to be able to make this additional contribution to some fantastic preventative engaging work being done to show young people in particular the devastation that can be caused by knives and how to ensure they learn about making responsible decisions and realising their full potential while keeping themselves safe."


PCC Mark Burns-Williamson with James Riley, the creator of the Get Away 'N' Get Safe Gangs Prevention Programme

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