It has been two months since the election and I have set out below some of the key issues.

Campaigning Against the Cuts

Labour’s election campaign highlighted the reckless cuts the government is making to policing and crime prevention across West Yorkshire. The scale of the 20% cuts – over 100 million by the end of the current spending review – will mean the loss of 2000 police jobs.

I will continue to raise directly with the Home Secretary Theresa May and the Policing Minister Damien Green that the cuts here go too far, too fast. Surrey has the funding this year for an extra 250 frontline officers but West Yorkshire with far greater need could lose 800.

This makes a mockery of the message “more efficiencies”. 64 million has already been saved down to the dedication and innovation across the Force but with continued cuts there will inevitably come a tipping point when the cuts to funding mean cuts to vital front line services.

I have made a formal submission on the Policing Grant to try to secure a fairer deal for West Yorkshire in the way monies for policing are allocated but also to maintain the Community Safety Fund that provides the vital funding to improve communities through partnerships.

Listening to You First

I launched in the first week a far and wide public consultation “Listening to You First” to ask people in their communities for their priorities on policing and crime prevention. The feedback from this important engagement will inform my Budget and Police and Crime Plan 2013/14.

Through Listening to You First I have visited vital community projects across the county, held round tables with partners in every district and held the first issue based round table on Hate Crime in Leeds. I have sent a survey to over 10,000 individuals and organisations.

There have been over 2,000 responses to the survey and the results will be looked at by district over the coming weeks and clear themes have emerged from the round tables. Based on this information I will produce a Budget imminently and a Police and Crime Plan by March.

Appointing a Chief Constable

One of my immediate priorities on being elected was the need to appoint a permanent Chief Constable for West Yorkshire. Following the resignation of Sir Norman Bettison there has been a Temporary Chief Constable in place. The interviews will take place on 31 January.

To honour an election pledge I have asked thousands of young people from right across the county for ideas for a question for the interview. This compiled question will then be put to the candidates in the interview and the successful candidate’s response will be circulated.

I have also done the same across West Yorkshire for a question regarding diversity. I launched this engagement at the hate crime round table and I have sought the views of many individuals and organizations across the county. The response will also be circulated.

For matters concerning the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner please contact me on 01924 294006 or on markburns-williamson@westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk and I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

Mark Burns-Williamson

Labour’s Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire

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