Newsletter - February 2021
A message from Mark - Hello everyone
I hope that you are all keeping safe and managing as best as possible, as we all face the ongoing challenges of these national Covid restrictions together.
The rollout of the vaccination programme continues with the NHS, Public Health and local authorities in West Yorkshire doing a fantastic job to coordinate and deliver it to specified groups.
However, we must all continue to play our part in keeping the virus at bay by following the guidance and managing our own behaviours and activities in reducing the infection rates and protecting our loved ones, families, friends, colleagues and communities. West Yorkshire Police (WYP) have continued to explain and engage with members of the community wherever possible, but take appropriate enforcement action where there have been deliberate or blatant breaches. This is the right approach during what is a public health emergency and I am in close contact with the Chief Constable and WYP who I pay tribute to in stepping up to these challenges in very difficult circumstances for all involved.
My work and that of the office PCC continues at a pace, and I have just launched my refreshed Police and Crime Plan for the year ahead which sets the strategic direction for West Yorkshire Police and key community safety partners. I have also recently announced the key local policing budget proposals for 2021/2022, and the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) has had funding for a further year confirmed, all of which there are more details below in the rest of this newsletter.
We have also had a very busy few weeks consulting with our communities on various issues through video calls and as a result have created an advisory group for older people, as well as holding a similar event for the faith communities in West Yorkshire. If you’re interested in joining these groups please do get in touch with my office on the contact details provided.
The latest statistics from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that the rate of recorded crime in West Yorkshire has dropped by nearly 9% on the same period last year, more than the rate of decrease across England and Wales, which is on average a 7% fall.
These figures show how West Yorkshire Police is continuing their improving trend of falling crime rates – notably again for theft, burglary and vehicle offences. We know the lockdowns and Covid-19 have resulted in fewer crimes being committed. However, West Yorkshire was already on a downward trend prior to the pandemic and I am really pleased this has been borne out again in these figures, but we know there is always more to do in continuing these improvements and real challenges ahead to help keep our communities safe and feeling safe.
I do hope that you will find Newsletter content update informative and most importantly, stay safe out there.
Mark Burns-Williamson OBE
West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner
Refreshed Police and Crime Plan Launched
I have launched my refreshed Police and Crime Plan for West Yorkshire.
The Plan sets the strategic direction for West Yorkshire Police and our community safety partners.
At the heart of the Plan is our ambition to work together with the police and partners, and with our communities, to help achieve our shared vision of ‘keeping West Yorkshire safe and feeling safe’.
Key additions in this refresh are updated priorities to reflect new approaches, and challenges, to tackling crime in West Yorkshire.
- Emphasising the importance of safeguarding work, recognising the challenges and a continued priority of Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation.
- Citing ‘Serious Violence’ as a standalone priority for the first time.
- Recognising the vital work undertaken by the now established West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU).
- And building community resilience to help counter terrorism.
Budget Plans for Protecting the Frontline
I have announced my plans for the local Police budget in 2021/2022, outlining my continued commitment to help rebuild and protect frontline policing in West Yorkshire which was agreed at the Police and Crime Panel.
It will see an additional 251 police officers and 73 police staff recruited and invested into protecting local communities, whilst sustaining the level of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) at 566 as part of our Neighbourhood Policing Teams throughout the county.
It increases the police element of council tax (called the precept) on average by around 26p per week for most households (61%) that are in Bands A and B, with the Band D property level remaining the 3rd lowest police precept in England and Wales.
Protecting the people of West Yorkshire has been central to my approach in preparing this latest budget, which both builds upon the foundations we have already laid, whilst taking account of what lies on the horizon, and the views of the police, partners and importantly the public in making what are difficult decisions amidst the ongoing impact of Covid-19 have been key to this.
To find out more about the budget visit https://www.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk/news-events/news/pcc-budget-plans-protecting-frontline
£3.3m earmarked to tackle serious violence in West Yorkshire
It has been announced that the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) is set to receive just over £3.3m of Home Office funding to continue their efforts to tackle and prevent serious violent crime during 2021/22.
Through a unique public heath-led approach, the VRU brings together organisations across local communities to tackle underlying causes. It also helps fund vital local projects that undertake positive preventative work with children and young people.
Now into its second year, the unit has a partnership emphasis, with specialists from health, police, local authorities, education, youth justice, prisons, probation, community groups and others.
I am pleased that Ministers and the Home Office have recognised the value and ongoing work of our West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) by committing to another year of funding and I have lobbied hard for this as the national Serious Violence lead for PCCs.
Robust police enforcement is important in bringing violent offenders to justice and protecting communities, but when partners come together, recognising what can be achieved by adopting a wider public-health approach, we can also address some of the longer-term underlying issues and prevent violence in the first place with effective early intervention measures. However, it is still the case that the Government need to commit to longer term funding for this work to help us achieve a lasting positive impact for years to come.
Bradford shines in multimedia competition
Kalia Nelson’s entry
Two young people from Bradford have won my multimedia competition, each taking home a £50 gift card.
Late last year, I launched the competition for young people, to engage and consult with them.
The competition asked for entries around a number of topics, promoting inclusion and diversity, young people’s thoughts, feelings or views on policing, as well as the impact of Covid-19.
Kalia Nelson, aged 8, and Morgan Foord, aged 16, both from Bradford, took home the joint first prize.
Morgan’s photographic entry was inspired by her experiences and emotions as a result Covid-19 restrictions. Commenting on her work, she said she felt trapped even though she knew the restrictions are necessary.
Kalia created her drawing to show that although we need to wear masks, that we still have ‘love, joy, faith and hope’ and that we will all get through the issues of Covid-19 together. The ‘help’ on the police officers mask reflects how she feels the police are helping communities. She also wanted to re-enforce the hands, face and space messages and that it’s everyone’s responsibility to follow the rules.
NHS and Government Coronavirus Guidance
Government and NHS Advice
For the latest health updates and guidance from the Government visit: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
NHS guidance can be found here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19
Contacting the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner
Along with the office I am currently working remotely. This means that face to face meetings at the office and elsewhere will not be taking place and we are not able to deal with correspondence posted through our letter box, either in person or by Royal Mail.
However, you can still get in touch by email [email protected] and telephone 01924 294000 in the usual manner.