It’s over 12 months since Mark Burns-Williams was elected as West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
I caught up with him recently at a meeting of the Spen Valley Area Committee at the town hall in Cleckheaton. He explained the enormity of the job covering a population of two million people, stretching over 22 parliamentary constituencies. He’s proud to say that he spends 50 per cent of his time out of the office gathering feedback from local people and their concerns.
Mr Burns-Williams has produced an annual report – Making Communities Safer and Feeling safer – putting emphasis on crime prevention, reducing burglaries, tackling hate crime, anti-social behaviour, putting victims first and improving victims’ services, protecting our children and tackling drug and alcohol addiction.
He revealed that half of the ill-gotten gains of criminals seized in West Yorkshire get taken by the Treasury in London. He wants all the money recovered to be invested in our communities to tackle the causes and consequences of crime and crack down on criminals. To help with this, people can go online to sign his petition at action.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk/page/s/giveusbackallthemoney.
Critics argue that elected police chiefs are a ‘failed experiment’ but Mr Burns-Williams says he is working towards meeting the priorities and the commitments set out in the Police and Crime Plan 2013-18 in which he claims crime is down by 3.7 per cent in West Yorkshire.
The good folk of the Spen Valley seemed pleased with his talk, particularly when he assured them there are no intentions to close Heckmondwike and Dewsbury police stations.