Newsletter January 2015



A message for the New Year

Mark said "Putting victims and witnesses at the heart of everything we do, ever more integrated partnership working, increased engagement, highlighting road safety issues and leading the way on tackling human trafficking are just some of the areas I will be focusing on in 2015.

"I look forward to together making sure our communities are safer and feeling safer throughout 2015 and would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone all the very best for you and your families over festive period and the New Year."

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Proceeds of Crime visit

Mark Burns-Williamson visited the YMCA White Rose project in Lupset to see how the £4,500 he donated from his Safer Communities Fund had been spent. The YMCA works with around 500 young people from the local area each year and run projects including youth clubs, social enterprise allotments and after school clubs. They focus on regenerating the Lupset estate by training young people to be leaders and breaking the cycle of anti-social behaviour.

Mark said: "The YMCA White Rose project has a tremendous impact in the community and I am pleased to be able to come and see the valuable work they're doing with young people first hand. This project demonstrates why it is so essential to get more POCA monies back into the communities affected by crime." 

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New team of investigators appointed to focus on safeguarding and child sexual exploitation cases

30 investigators with extensive experience from a policing or social care background are to be appointed and given specialist training at the Force's Training and Development Centre at Carr Gate. Following initial training, they will join dedicated district policing teams boosting capacity to deal with complex and challenging historical investigations.

Mark said "I want victims and witnesses, in particular those who are most vulnerable, to always come first and any young person who has been a victim or a witness of this sexual exploitation should have the confidence to come forward, trust that their voice will be heard and be justified in believing that the responsible authorities will make sure that they and others are supported and kept safe. Hiring former officers and experts from a child social care background with specialist knowledge of investigations and child protection issues is a good way to increase resources immediately to tackle cases and support victims."

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Anti-drink drive campaign

West Yorkshire Police are supporting this year's national Christmas drink driving campaign by publishing each charge made against those suspected of drink or drug driving throughout December. A hard-hitting video showing a young woman caught drink-driving has also been released with the aim of reducing the number of drunk, young drivers getting behind the wheel this Christmas.     

Watch the video here

"Mark said "I would urge anyone going out and drinking over the festive period or any time, to leave their car keys at home. Road safety is a key priority in my Police and Crime Plan and I fully support the West Yorkshire Police campaign to keep our roads safer and urge people to consider the awful consequences of drink driving."             

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Online Crime Tracker launched

Online systems are now live in West Yorkshire, which allow victims of crime to securely make a report and track its progress. Local Crime Tracker offers an alternative option to calling the non-emergency number 101 and is available on the homepage of the West Yorkshire Police website:

Mark said "The new Local Crime Tracker should bring down call waiting times for the 101 number while ensuring victims are supported and kept up to date regarding their crime status." 

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Relentless, severe and continued cuts criticised by the Police and Crime Commissioner

The Home Office police grant figures released this month mean that West Yorkshire Police has to find more than £33.8million in savings next year, on top of the £103m already made in the last three years. The overall cut by 2015/16 is £137.5m with a further cut of 5.1per cent which equates to £33.8million of savings needing to be found over the next 12 months. The overall level of cuts needed by 2016/17 is now forecast at around £163.5million, a £1.5million jump from what was previously forecast only recently.

Mark slammed the latest cuts and said "These continued cuts are deep and damaging and go too far. West Yorkshire's share of top slicing the core budget equates to more than £1million in 2015/16 and this is much more than anticipated and I feel we are being penalised yet again. This money needs to go towards frontline policing to help people feel safe, not Government grants to other organisations."

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Social Media Survey

We're looking for feedback on our social media accounts, if you use any of them we'd like to hear what you think. You can fill in a short survey here.


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The Safer Communities Fund

Mark has now awarded £697,000 to more than 120 charities, voluntary groups and other organisations across West Yorkshire under the Safer Communities Fund which launched in February this year. Money seized from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act is fed into this single community pot exclusively for local community safety initiatives. 

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Youth Advisory Group

The group is made up of 40 voluntary members aged between 13 and 21, from across West Yorkshire who meet up three times a year and speak to Mark directly about issues affecting them and their peers. The group most recently spoke to Mark about their online safety fears which led to Mark backing the NSPCC's "Flaw in the Law" campaign.     

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The Police and Crime Plan refreshed

Improving road safety and understanding the growing problem of cyber-crime were new top priorities in the refreshed Police and Crime Plan for 2013-2018. Many priorities remained the same such as reducing burglary, safeguarding people against serious and violent crime, supporting victims and witnesses and better tackling anti-social behaviour and the causes and consequences of crime.

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Tour de France

Police in West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and North Yorkshire again demonstrated the strength of regional collaboration and strong partnership working to deliver a safe and secure Tour de France "Yorkshire Grand Départ". The world's greatest cycling event proved to be a spectacular occasion with millions of residents and visitors experiencing the supreme riding over the first and second stages of the race.            

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Help for Victims website launched

Help for Victims, was created and launched earlier this year with the sole purpose of supporting victims and witnesses of crime. Funded by the Ministry of Justice, it is hoped that the website will be rolled out to other police forces across England and Wales and is for anyone who feels they are a victim or witness to a crime and don't know where to go for help.   

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Hate crime campaign

West Yorkshire Police and Mark launched a new campaign to highlight the issue of hate crime. The campaign aims to give people a better understanding of what hate crime is and what they can do about it. A new online reporting system has been introduced and improvements have been made to how information about hate incidents is recorded. 

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"It'll all end in tears" - road safety DVD

Talented students are to educate their peers about road safety after making a hard hitting film showing the devastating impact of not wearing a seatbelt. It'll All End In Tears, is a professionally produced video, supported by Mark, and is set to be shown in schools across the region after receiving its premiere at Hemsworth Academy earlier this year.                

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West Yorkshire Anti-Trafficking Network

A ground-breaking project aimed at helping victims of human trafficking was created by anti-human trafficking charity Hope for Justice in conjunction with Mark after he was awarded £200,000 from the Ministry of Justice earlier this year to create and lead the network.

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Special Constable recruitment drive

A major recruitment drive to increase the number of Special Constables serving the county to 1,500 by May 2016 was announced earlier this year. A new section of the West Yorkshire Police website was also launched detailing all the information a potential special constable could need as well as an online application form.

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