New West Yorkshire Police Chief Constable reveals priorities for year ahead

The new Chief Constable of Yorkshire's biggest police force has set out his priorities for the year ahead.

John Robins was announced as Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police at the Police and Crime Panel meeting last Friday.
John Robins was announced as Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police at the Police and Crime Panel meeting last Friday.

John Robins was announced as Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police at the Police and Crime Panel meeting last Friday.

Now, just a week into the role, he has set out his plans for the next 12 months with reducing crime, protecting the vulnerable and providing reassurance to communities at the top of his agenda.

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Mr Robins said: "Policing is a very complex and complicated business.

Chief Constable John Robins

"Demand and pressures upon the front line staff are like never before and I have the upmost respect for those frontline officers and staff and for the rest of the organisation which is facilitating that and making it happen.

"In many ways it's a simple scenario of policing for me. My priorities are quite simple. I want to reduce crime and detect and prevent and get good outcomes.

"I want to look after victims and witnesses and do our core policing mission around crime, but in doing that we have also got to make sure that we protect the most vulnerable in society and from the very first day I joined the police I have always been very concerned about vulnerability. Vulnerable people need to be looked after by society and by policing.

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"Thirdly my priority for the year is to increase the reassurance to the West Yorkshire public, whether they engage with the police or not. The public deserve to feel confident in their police service."

Mr Robins said the challenge for him is to make sure he has the right number of resources in the right place at the right time, in what he describes as a "really delicate" balance.

He said: "In the short term we have got to focus on what we know works.

"With serious and violent crime within the last three months we have introduced a new operation entitled Jemlock which is around knives and gun crime. It shows if we are proactive and take crime prevention to the criminals and make sure we are firm and resolute we will see results.

"Covert and intrusive policing along with preventative and reassurance policing are the key to reducing crime."

Mr Robins admits violent crime has increased across West Yorkshire, but still believes the county is in a good position compared to other towns and cities across the country.

He said: "Violent crime has gone up and much of that is because of police recording practice, but let me straight with the public as well, it has also gone up because there has been an increase and that's around resources, mobility and society issues.

"Seventy-five per cent of violent crime doesn't have an injury involved, but each one is still important to us. We are in a good position in West Yorkshire as that street based use of knives by young people on young people is not where it is in some of the towns and cities up and down the country. One of those offences though is too many. It is about early intervention, partnership approach, work with schools, local authorities, community and youth groups and fantastic work is already going on across West Yorkshire."

Having joined the West Yorkshire force as a police constable in 1990, Mr Robins has worked in many roles including intelligence, CID, firearms and covert policing.

He believes his long service gives him a wide understanding of the force he now heads.

Mr Robins said: "I am absolutely committed in making West Yorkshire a better place and I know West Yorkshire police officers and staff share that commitment so people should be reassured with the policing they are receiving."