West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson has paid tribute to the officers and staff of West Yorkshire Police as he marks his first six months in office.

“Over the last six months I have visited officers and staff across the county including going out on the beat with neighbourhood policing teams and have seen at first hand the hard work and dedication shown by West Yorkshire Police.

In his May newsletter he writes:

“The damaging cuts to policing are no longer 20 per cent but 30 per cent cuts (£140 million in West Yorks) over six years and the unfair way funding is allocated continues to hit West Yorkshire particularly hard. I continue to lobby for a fairer funding deal to pay for our vital services but the response from government is always to say there is no money, that we need to find efficiencies and that as crime rates are falling there is a question mark over need. I am, however, deeply concerned that when the tipping point comes, if it has not already, we will not be able to keep our communities as safe as we should all want. Having visited and met many of our police officers and staff around the county, however, I never cease to be impressed by their day-to-day commitment to keeping our communities safe.

Privatisation is clearly on the government’s agenda, as we have seen so clearly in their ‘consultation’ on the probation service. I am looking at ways, with partners, to find an alternative solution to the privatisation proposals but I do think this is a sign of things to come. For example the voluntary tagging scheme for offenders when they are released from prison to prevent re-offending could be done effectively – and at less cost – in-house by West Yorkshire Police, but the government appears to be committed to a national, private, contract for this provision.

This likely decision and many other examples of centralisation appears to contradict the localism agenda that apparently underpinned the creation of Police and Crime Commissioners. I am coming to the conclusion that the localism agenda may be more about localising blame. I am increasingly convinced, though, that PCCs are in a unique and strong position to improve people’s lives and I am committed to working together with all our Councils as well as other key partners and stakeholders to make a real difference in our communities.”

A key part of his strategic vision is the development of new ways of partnership working and delivering on the other priorities in the Police and Crime Plan that sets the strategic direction for policing and community safety over the next five years. If you have not yet seen the plan you can do so by clicking here.

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