YEP Letters: January 13

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Check out today’s YEP letters

Clarity on funding for police officers

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner

I am writing in response to recent misleading reports of private funding to pay for police officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) which has understandably raised concerns that people are paying twice for their police force which is not the case.

To provide clarity I have detailed below our funding arrangements with partners for police officers and PCSOs. This does not include collaboration with other police forces and the Home Office which were erroneously captured in earlier articles.

450 of our 565 PCSOs are paid for in collaboration arrangement with other bodies, including local authorities, housing associations and parish councils. Our partners currently contribute between 20 per cent and 30 per cent of the funding for each of the jointly funded PCSOs. This means out of the £17.8m funding for PCSOs, 17 per cent, or just over £3m, is funded through partners, the rest is paid out of the West Yorkshire policing budget. This reflects the positive collaboration with partners to enhance community safety which I am keen to maintain and has been well received and effective over many years.

West Yorkshire Police also receives £1.37m funding for 26 police officers from a range of partner organisations including Housing Associations, Local Authorities, Leeds Bradford Airport and a few other organisations.

In additional to this West Yorkshire Police receives £1.04m as a 50 per cent contribution for funding for 51 Safer Schools Officers based in schools and acting as a point of contact for teachers, students and parents which I believe represents money targeted in the right places.

This partnership funding contributes just over £5.45m which is less than 1.5 per cent of the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner’s (PCC) budget.This funding again reflects the joint working with partners to ensure community safety and their commitment is recognised and appreciated in keeping communities safer and feeling safer. I want to provide clarity to recent reports as PCSOs are a vital part of community safety and as long as I am Police and Crime Commissioner they will remain a key part of the neighbourhood policing model. Some police services are apparently considering scrapping them. Not me.

I have always strived to reach the best deal I can on behalf of the public in West Yorkshire in terms of what is affordable for both the police and local councils. Neighbourhood policing and the trust and confidence required to ensure it is successful has been built up over many years in collaboration with our many partners. Joint funding agreements helps ensure a total commitment to community safety for all of us and represents additionality on top of core police budgets that have been cut by £140m in recent times by the Government. I am always looking at the options to protect and strengthen front line policing and have just released my Community Conversations survey to ask the public how they want the policing budget to be spent at http://www.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk/get-involved/community-conversation.aspx

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Rid businesses of this nuisance

B Duffy, by email

I could not agree more with Mr Staines’ views about the ‘Managed Prostitution,’ zone near his business premises,in Holbeck,(YEP 11/1/16.)

I would like to see evidence from businesses and hear the question asked to provide this evidence.

What sort of impression is created when clients arrive, to find all the rubbish left behind by the prostitutes?

I have witnessed these women pestering people using the cash point at the old Yorkshire Bank.

Instead of creating this zone, why not have licensed controlled premises in Leeds city centre, say in the new Victoria Quarter, run by the council, where the prostitutes could be medically examined, protected and pay taxes like real workers! Are the businesses in this ‘zone,’ being given reduced business rates due to this imposition?

The police should be applying the law and ridding these businesses of this nuisance for which they pay their taxes.

Treated with contempt by council

Liz Goodwill, by email

As a long suffering resident of Holbeck (who has been hassled by so called punters), I must complain in the strongest terms with regards to the “prostitution zone” being made permanent.

Why as residents have we not been consulted? As a “zone” it does not work, as the “girls” ply their “trade” already out of agreed hours, and out of the so called “designated “ areas and sadly it doesn’t make them safer either.

I have to wonder why if LCC feel that this has no detrimental effect on an area, that they don’t make these zones all over the city? As it is, as I have said many times before, although close to the city centre, Holbeck and its residents are treat with utter contempt by LCC.

YEP Letters: July 21