Latest report shows how partnership and community support remains the focus for West Yorkshire’s PCC
Partnership working was key to ensuring communities, including victims and witnesses, were effectively supported during the pandemic, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has said.
PCC Mark Burns-Williamson was speaking after the release of his Annual Report for 2019/2020 which details the work his office has done over the last 12 months or so including the start of the pandemic as it unfolded in 2020.
The report details developments including the extraordinary grant round of the PCC’s Safer Communities Fund, opened in April, specifically for projects and interventions which targeted issues known to be at the forefront during lockdown. These included Domestic and Sexual Abuse, Child Sexual Abuse, Mental Health, Fraud and Drugs and Alcohol. Grants of up to £6,000 were available and 32 groups received a share of £174,304.93 in total.
This extraordinary funding was also on top of £636,000 granted through regular rounds of the Safer Communities Fund (SCF) to over 100 projects over the reported year, making a critical and real difference to communities in need.
Mr Burns-Williamson said: “I am really proud of what we have delivered and I think this report demonstrates the broad depth of work being done on behalf of the community and partners within West Yorkshire.
“A lot of this has been achieved as we all face and continue to face unprecedented challenges posed by Covid-19 that we are all still navigating our way through is testament to the dedication and hard work shown by the OPCC staff and partners to ensure many people in our communities are supported.
“With our Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) and many of our commissioned services and projects we are trying to achieve better outcomes for vulnerable victims and witnesses. We also know there has been a gap in the provision of domestic abuse services, so as the perpetrators programme shows, anything we can do to stop the cycle of abuse happening has to be a positive step.
“I have recently spoken to a number of our community groups that have received funding from the SCF which is very much a grassroots initiative and have been really heartened on some of these calls to hear about the life changing work being done in the face of real adversity.
“This report shows that at the heart of all we do is the community and that we are doing what we can to ensure they feel safe and supported, especially as we live through what are really challenging and unprecedented times for people.”
The first ever victims and witnesses strategy ‘Supporting People Harmed by Crime’ was also created during 2020, and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) worked with NHS, Police, Victims Support and Criminal Justice partners to help deliver our vision and open West Yorkshire’s new Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) at the heart of the County.
The West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) is now into its second year and is using a public health approach to help to reduce serious violence through early intervention, prevention, education and partnership working. This has involved work alongside numerous local projects and organisations to deliver change across communities.
A West Yorkshire-wide domestic abuse perpetrators programme was also commissioned which saw £215,010 in additional Home Office funding secured via the OPCC to deliver a perpetrator intervention service with three specific strands that will see dedicated workers help families with one to one support.
Other developments in the report include:
- Lobbying Government for better support for victims of road traffic collisions.
- Supporting the West Yorkshire Anti-Slavery Partnership into its sixth year.
- Funding important work with vulnerable groups through the West Yorkshire Reducing Reoffending Board.
- Securing funding for new Independent Sexual Violence Advisor services in our districts.
- Pledging to support our commissioned services, and working with partners, to meet the unparalleled challenges of the Covid pandemic.
Download the Annual Report 2019/20