Successful funding bids secure £3m to help South Yorkshire crime victims: Alan Billings

Each year I receive from the Ministry of Justice a sum of money to commission services, principally for victims of crime. These services are delivered by organisations in the voluntary sector.

They include, for example, those that support victims of sexual assaults, rapes and domestic abuse and those trying to overcome addictions. Last year this core grant came to £1.8m.

But sometimes the government makes other sums of money available on a one off basis to enhance the work of these organisations.

This seems to be a growing trend.

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Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings. Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings.
Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings.

This funding, however, usually has to be applied for – on a competitive basis: there is no guarantee that the bid will be successful.

While all additional funding for these vital services is welcome, it does involve my staff and staff in other organisations in both the public and voluntary sectors, in a lot of extra work writing the bids that may, in the end, come to nothing. In addition, because the funding is, usually, for one year only, it may have a limited effect.

To give some idea of the funding – and work – involved in making and securing these bids I set out below what we received last year from the various funds. We succeeded in most of our bids.

Safer Streets Fund 4: £737,560. This was Home Office funding to reduce anti-social behaviour in hotspot areas in Barnsley and Rotherham with additional CCTV and lighting in parks.

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National Independent Domestic Violence Advisers (IDVAs) and Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs) Fund: £590.574. This will pay for an additional six ISVAs, three Children’s ISVAs and nine IDVAs for those with complex needs, ethnic minorities, LGBTQ.

Funding for additional IDVAs and ISVAs: £427,092. This enabled the recruitment of additional IDVAs and ISVAs across South Yorkshire to support victims/survivors, including those who were: disabled and those who were male.

Perpetrator Phase 4: £656,069. Home Office funding towards a programme to change the behaviour of domestic abusers and increase victim safety.

Community-based services for victims of Domestic Abuse or Sexual Violence: £636,564. Support includes counselling and specialist support for older people, children and male victims of domestic abuse.

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This is over £3m of funding for vital services to people in South Yorkshire which would not have come into the county without a great deal of painstaking work, often against tight deadlines, by people in my office, in the local authorities and in the voluntary sector.

Their work is not always as appreciated as it should be.

On a separate note, Sheffield Hallam University and South Yorkshire Police hosted a visit from senior police officers, men and women, from the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. I was able to meet them and hear a little about the challenges they face in their police force area with its population of 72m.

They have no equivalent of an elected Police and Crime Commissioner in India and I had to explain very carefully that while I have a role in setting police priorities and holding the force to account on behalf of the people of South Yorkshire, I take no operational decisions: these are matters for the Chief Constable. The idea that a politician and not a group of police officers should appoint the Chief Constable was something they were not at all sure about.

Alan Billings is South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner