Crime Urban Echo News 

Safeguarding is everybody’s business

by Mark Burns Williamson, West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner

Safeguarding generally is something that all of us need to be aware of, as the successful week of events demonstrated just recently across West Yorkshire.

Bradford had a variety of events including one at Holmewood Connect showcasing work by residents helping to make their community safer, and also a public consultation event took place at Manningham Mills Community Centre on Bradford Council’s Safeguarding Adults Board three year plan where I was pleased to contribute and show my support.

But across all five districts there was something for everyone, be it parents or professionals or family events. Safeguarding really is everybody’s business, so always keep that in mind to ensure we are doing our best to keep our most vulnerable or those who need a helping hand safe.

I have been pleased to be able to provide continuing support to the road safety charity Brake with a joint £5,000 donation with Chief Constable, Dee Collins. We used monies from the Police Property Act Fund to support BRAKE – more than doubling donations from previous years. The cash from the fund contains money from the sale of property connected with crime and is used for charitable donations.

BRAKE is the national road safety charity, based in Huddersfield, which exists to help prevent and stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on our roads every day.

As well as providing care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes, Brake co-ordinates Road Safety Week every November. I was delighted to attend their recent reception in Parliament where Bradford South MP Judith Cummings was awarded ‘Road Safety Parliamentarian of the Year’ for recognition of her work.

We know road safety is a significant issue for people and is frequently raised as a concern by members of the public across Bradford and West Yorkshire.

Road safety is a priority in my Police and Crime Plan and this donation is in recognition of the exceptional service Brake provides both in prevention and in raising awareness of road safety and supporting families, victims and witnesses.

I also attended some great events in both Otley and Kirklees around youngsters developing methods to increase road safety awareness among their peers. Those projects were funded through my Safer Communities Fund (Proceeds of Crime) which just goes to show the real value of the Fund and how it is helping many grassroots projects and successful in community engagement.

Leeds City Council – Highways and Transportation received £5000 from the Fund for their Road Safety Oscars project while The Polish Saturday School in Huddersfield received £2538.88 for a special event to increase awareness of road safety around their building- used by a large number of people from the community and sits near a busy main road.

The Leeds initiative sees secondary schools across Leeds invited to develop road safety and sustainable travel films. These schools, including Prince Henry’s Grammar School, in Otley, the one I attended recently, then hold Road Safety Oscars Ceremonies to showcase their work before sharing them with all year groups and feeder primary schools.

The films include road safety messages such as avoiding distractions, using appropriate crossings, being visible and coping with peer pressure. They also promote sustainable travel facilities and considerate parking.

The event at the Polish Saturday School had a workshop for children and parents with practical demonstrations, a road safety competition, artwork, a quiz, a road safety song and a play performed by the GCSE and A-level students. The SCF money also paid for a number of hazard awareness signs and banners, as well as safety equipment including high visibility jackets for young people. I was delighted to be able to visit both and meet with organisers and participants.

I also visited Neighbourhood Policing Teams across the county as it is so important to see first-hand what valuable work officers are doing to engage, problem solve, and work with partners to ensure we are acting on solutions to issues as soon as we can. This vital function is something I have always been vocal about protecting and I feel strongly that Neighbourhood Policing remains the bedrock of the way we do community policing.

I recently reinvested into this area and am pleased to see the teams out and about engaging with communities and going out with them really reminds me what a fantastic job they all do. Another reminder of that was the recent annual West Yorkshire Policing Awards.

It’s no secret that it is a very challenging time for policing and our officers and staff really are at the forefront of that. They put themselves in harm’s way day in day out to keep us all safe, displaying exceptional bravery, professionalism and integrity in the way in which they go about their business.

The awards celebrated the best achievements from over the last year and it’s testament to the work of West Yorkshire Police and our partners that there were many nominations making it so difficult to choose the winners.

We have also seen three of West Yorkshire Police’s senior officers receive accolades for their work in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list and that is testament to the ongoing work they are doing within the force to keep the public safe, despite the ongoing challenges and complexities, not least with the Government funding cuts experienced in recent years.

My Safer Communities Fund this time around was aimed at groups tackling serious/violent crime and I am pleased that we have had a huge amount of applications which my office are currently looking through. That Fund round closed on 15 June but to read about it and find out about applying for the next round when it opens please visit the website at https://www.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk.

 

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