Letter: Police focus in 2015

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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.

This coming year again sees huge challenges for our West Yorkshire police service and across our vital public services with government cuts to the police budget that have already resulted in £162million of savings needed by 2016/17.

These challenges have already seen us respond by working smarter and more effectively, introducing technology in the form of e-notebooks into West Yorkshire Police to ensure officers are as visible as possible and can take statements and do interviews remotely while out and about on the beat in our communities.

We have also created co-located hubs across the districts so neighbourhood policing teams and many others are based with partners including safeguarding teams and local authorities to ensure we are working together in the community where the public needs us, providing the most appropriate interventions.

With a new victim’s code now in place 2015 will hopefully see my new Help for Victims website at www.helpforvictims.co.uk rolled across West Yorkshire and to other forces and PCCs. The website is solely dedicated to helping victims and witnesses of crime with details of more than 400 supporting organisations also on the site and is an exciting new development.

I have put more than half a million pounds into various community organisations with my share of the Proceeds of Crime money via my Safer Communities Fund with more rounds to start in 2015. Also in conjunction with the Hope for Justice charity and WYP, I have helped create a West Yorkshire Anti-Trafficking Network to help those victims of trafficking and raise awareness of this awful and growing practice.

I feel passionately about the communities I serve and I urge you to contact me with your community safety priorities at consultation@westyorkshire.pcc.gov.uk.

I would also urge you to let victims and witnesses you visit during the course of your day to know there is more support out there with the Help for Victims website, available in five different languages, where they can get help and support.

The last two years have certainly not been without their challenges and with severe and sustained government cuts to the public sector, the policing budget has been slashed by almost 30 per cent.

This puts a significant strain on already challenged public services, so it is crucial we continue to work smarter and better together to keep our communities safer and feeling safer. I don’t underestimate the commitment and day to day effort this will require going forwards collectively.

I look forward to together making sure our communities are safer and feeling safer in 2015 and would like to thank you for what you have already done in reducing crime overall, and wish everyone all the very best for the new year.

Mark Burns-Williamson

Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire