Newsletter December 2018

Newsletteraug 18

Police Funding

I have launched my budget consultation for 2019/20 and want to hear your views on how the money should be raised from April onwards. I am responsible for setting the budget for West Yorkshire Police which includes the local police precept (the part of council tax that goes to the police). As part of the annual funding settlement announced on 13th December by the Government, Police and Crime Commissioners have been given the ability to raise their precept up to £24 for 2019/20 against a backdrop of Government cuts in recent years. It is essentially a Government expectation that they are increased by the maximum amount to enable police forces to absorb annual cost increases and continue to rebuild frontline policing. I am therefore asking people for their thoughts on a potential £24-a-year - 46p a week - increase on the policing precept, for a Band D propriety, allowing West Yorkshire Police protection for local policing and recruitment of officers, whilst ensuring local people will still pay significantly less than in neighbouring force areas. Over 70% of properties in West Yorkshire are in bands A, B and C which is between a 31p to 41p increase per week if this is implemented.

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Road safety week

November saw a dedicated week to promote road safety which was organised by the charity Brake. The week had a theme of 'Bike Smart' and consisted of events and awareness raising with a particular focus on the safety of cyclists and motorcyclists. Analysis by Brake found that in Yorkshire and the Humber 17 bike riders are killed or seriously injured every week on the region's roads. Road safety remains an incredibly important subject and is one which continues to be recognised as a specific priority of my recently refreshed Police and Crime Plan. I put my full support behind the awareness week, as I believe that prevention is always better than cure and that by educating people of the dangers, we can collectively make a difference in making our roads safer.

Road Safety Week

Youth Intervention Fund

Having co-ordinated a number of bids to the Home Office, my office has recently been successful in achieving over £1m from the Early Intervention Youth Fund for a number of West Yorkshire projects. The projects will be supported over a two year period to help divert mainly children and young people away from violent crime. This will include work to identify and target young people who are vulnerable to exploitation or on its fringes. Similarly, it will target those already linked to organised crime, street gangs and anti-social behaviour. I have seen first-hand just how this kind of activity can make a huge difference to people's lives and I am keen to now unlock the benefits that this injection of funding brings to complement ongoing work to tackle violent crime.

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International Restorative Justice Week

I was very pleased to support the West Yorkshire Restorative Justice Service during International Restorative Justice (RJ) Week in November. At the start of the week, there was significant media interest nationally after a high profile rugby player was the victim of a homophobic attack in Cardiff and chose to meet with the perpetrator. The West Yorkshire Service was featured on National television in raising further awareness. The service also undertook road shows across West Yorkshire meeting with services, victims and offenders. A West Yorkshire Restorative Justice Operational Group was also formed this month to ensure that those services supporting victims, offenders and communities, work in partnership. If you have been a victim of a crime or work with victims or offenders in West Yorkshire you can learn more about the service by visiting www.rjwestyorkshire.org.uk or calling 0800 783 1550. The service is available to victims and offenders over 18 years of age, and is available for all offence types and commissioned through my office for the next 3 years.

Third Sector Conference
Early intervention and prevention under partnership spotlight

I held a major partnership conference in November with a focus to help divert young people and vulnerable individuals away from harm and potential criminal behaviour. Dozens of third sector organisations and groups, which are not directly connected to Government or profit making, came together for the event in Leeds. Attendees discussed the important role they each play in the joint effort to keep West Yorkshire safe and feeling safe, which included best practice and new ways forward. The themes that were discussed included drugs and alcohol, mental health, adverse childhood experiences, multiple and complex needs, as well as domestic and sexual abuse. The continuing austerity and funding challenges across public sector organisations is translating to further pressures upon third sector groups, who are increasingly left to fill the gaps. Working together and forging a collective approach with early intervention and prevention at its core is therefore crucial to providing services that truly deliver better medium and long term community safety and lifestyle outcomes.

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Affordable legal service launch

An affordable legal service for victims of domestic abuse, which I provided funding for, launched in November with the service going live in the New Year. Bradford based charity, Staying Put are running the new initiative to help survivors of domestic abuse. Affordable Legal Services will offer legal advice to all victims and survivors of domestic abuse who are not eligible for legal aid potentially providing a real lifeline for many in very difficult circumstances. I am really pleased to be able to support this project, which will help to protect and support some of our most vulnerable residents, providing legal assistance to those who might not otherwise be able to afford it during very difficult and stressful times. To find out more about the service visit Staying Put's website www.stayingput.uk.net or call 0808 2800 999.

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Christmas drink and drug driving campaign 2018

West Yorkshire Police is supporting the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) drink drive campaign, reminding people that drink or drug driving will not be tolerated at any time of the year. The crackdown officially launched on December 1 and runs through the whole month until January 1. Improving road safety is a key issue and involves a mixture of education, enforcement and prevention activities. This national campaign aims to raise awareness and help reduce these issues, whilst reminding potential drink or drug drivers that West Yorkshire Police will be on the lookout. I hope that this initiative will help to underline what is important at this time of year, and it certainly isn't making potentially dangerous decisions putting other people's lives at risk to drive whilst unfit or under the influence.

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If you've been affected by crime, Victim Support can give you the help you need to move forward. Their services are free, confidential and available to anyone in England and Wales, regardless of whether the crime has been reported or how long ago it happened. To find out more about their services visit www.victimsupport.org.uk or call 0300 303 1971.

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© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2019