The new Plan sets the outcomes, and priorities that will drive the work of my office, West Yorkshire Police and our partnership working over the next 5 years.
The outcomes are, tackle crime and anti-social behaviour, safeguard vulnerable people, make sure criminal justice works for communities and support victims and witnesses.
This new Plan takes over from the previous Police and Crime Plan and was created following an extensive consultation with the public and partners.
New additions to the Plan include priorities on safeguarding missing people and reducing incidents through addressing the root causes, working together to prevent radicalisation and safeguard people that are vulnerable to being groomed, and increasing community cohesion by encouraging inclusivity and building relationships between our communities.
Many existing priorities from the previous Plan, which continue to be important to the people of West Yorkshire, remain. These priorities include tackling child sexual exploitation, domestic abuse, road safety, cyber crime, human trafficking and providing the best possible support to the victims of crime.
The heart of the Plan is working together in partnership to ‘keep West Yorkshire safe and feeling safe’, which is the overall vision. Each of us has a role to play in improving the lives of people and their families across all of our communities.
To find out more about the Police and Crime Plan and to download a copy visit www.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk. Hardcopies can also be requested via the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner by calling 01924 294000 or by post to Ploughland House, 62 George Street, Wakefield, WF1 1DL.
Over £1.5m of money recovered from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act has now been returned to our communities through my Safer Communities Fund.
Recently 40 projects received a share of £167,355.47 at an awards evening held at Batley High School in December for the latest round of the Fund which had a crime prevention theme.
The Safer Communities Fund launched in February 2014. A total of £1,532,632.42 has so far been returned to the communities it came from, and a couple of West Yorkshire Projects were recently featured on the BBC’s Ill Gotten Gains series http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0842jgq.
The fund is financed through money recovered under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) which allows police and prosecutors to seize assets which criminals gained through illegal means.
I was delighted to be able to award the latest grants. It’s truly heartening to see what a difference relatively small amounts of money can make in our communities across West Yorkshire and I am continually impressed by the amount of worthy causes and organisations applying who are making a huge difference locally.
A heartfelt thank you to our police service and prosecutors who are doing a fantastic job of ensuring crime doesn’t pay. Without their hard work recovering this money and assets from criminals, the fund wouldn’t exist.
The next round of the fund opened for applications on 12 December with £140,000 available for good causes and grants of up to £5000 each. To find out more about the fund, including how to apply visit https://www.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk/safer-communities-fund.aspx. The closing date for applications is 20 January 2017.
I have also teamed up with West Yorkshire Police, the North East Counter Terrorism Unit and the University of Bradford to tackle online radicalisation through a joint research project.
The University has a wealth of expertise from many different backgrounds including computer science, digital forensics, cryptography, peace studies and social science, which will enable them to look at the data available from different perspectives to that of the police, to understand how an individual can be radicalised through online means.
The outputs of this project are expected to include learning materials for community policing, education providers, local government and other partners as well as innovative tools to enable the police to focus their resources for investigation and disruption operations in more targeted ways.
Online radicalisation impacts heavily within our communities and feelings of safety and the consequences can be truly devastating.
Tackling radicalisation has its roots in partnership working. This new research is a step in the right direction in further understanding the behaviour and circumstances that surround an individual being radicalised and the steps that can be taken by various organisations to prevent it and provide a counter narrative.
I will be keeping a close eye on the progress of this research and I am also keen to see what other opportunities arise to further more partnership working.
Anyone with any information about radicalisation either on line or anywhere else should call the police immediately on 101 or the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321.
I wish everyone a happy and peaceful 2017.