YP Letters: We should be fighting for investment in our police force

We should be fighting for investment in our police force

Mark Burns-Williamson is West Yorkshire's police and crime commissioner.
Mark Burns-Williamson is West Yorkshire's police and crime commissioner.

I WRITE further to the letter from Philip Crowther (The Yorkshire Post, January 12). It is entirely defeatist to start with the premise that I am ‘knocking on a locked door’ when it comes to Government funding around policing.

I make no apologies for doing so in securing a better deal for policing, something well publicised in the pages of The Yorkshire Post in recent years. Now, more than ever, we should be fighting for additional investment in West Yorkshire, having seen sustained cuts to the tune of £140m-plus since 2010, equating to roughly 2,000 jobs.

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With potentially millions more of unexpected police pension costs coming our way, I cannot see how anyone would reasonably expect a Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) not to address this as a matter of urgency. Similarly, there 
remains no real answer from 
the Government about the 
Police Funding Formula, which leaves us millions short each year.

Not withstanding the continued pressure, my office has delivered numerous achievements that are continuing to make a very real difference to people’s lives.

My Safer Communities Fund offers proceeds of crime money to not-for-profit organisations, which deliver against my Police and Crime Plan. This has seen more than £2m shared across 559 community safety projects in West Yorkshire since 2014.

Likewise, I have brought significant investment to West Yorkshire Police that promotes innovation, such as body-worn cameras, hand-held mobile devices and automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology.

I lead nationally in the drive to tackle human trafficking and modern day slavery for PCCs and have delivered additional funding to tackle important issues, including child sexual exploitations and cyber crime.

Over the past year alone, I have launched a new Victim’s Support Service, commissioned a restorative justice service for the entire region and brought over a million pounds to the region from the Youth Intervention Fund, helping to divert young people away from serious violence. These are certainly not soundbites.

Finally, I do object to being mentioned in the same breath as Chris Grayling, who The Yorkshire Post have quite rightly questioned at every turn in failures of transport policy in the North, and abject Government responses to real and sustainable devolution to this region.