'Ground-breaking' police unit to tackle violence against women in Leeds and West Yorkshire set up

A first-of-its-kind dedicated policing unit has been set up to tackle violence against women and girls in Leeds and West Yorkshire.
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Speaking at an event to mark International Women’s Day on March 8, West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin and her Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Alison Lowe OBE, unveiled the region’s new Women’s Safety Unit.

A national first, the team is a partnership comprising of members from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, the county’s Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP), and West Yorkshire Police.

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Ms Brabin said at the unveiling that the "ground-breaking" unit will be "committed to long-term change".

The development comes a year after Baroness Louise Casey’s review into the Metropolitan Police, which found institutional sexism, racism, and homophobia within the force.

Speaking after its publication, Baroness Casey questioned why the effective approach to reducing knife crime and serious violence isn’t deployed when tackling gender violence.

Ms Brabin said that the "ground-breaking" unit will be "committed to long-term change".Ms Brabin said that the "ground-breaking" unit will be "committed to long-term change".
Ms Brabin said that the "ground-breaking" unit will be "committed to long-term change".

Launching as a 12-month pilot, the dedicated unit will support the delivery of the Mayor’s Safety of Women and Girls Strategy, which sets out a long-term plan to bring about change, focusing on themes spanning education, prevention, and tackling inappropriate behaviours.

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Mayor Brabin said: “Here in West Yorkshire, we're leading the way in tackling violence against women and girls.

“I’m delighted to announce the establishment of our Women’s Safety Unit, a ground-breaking collaboration of experts committed to long-term change.

“I want every woman and girl in our region to know that we’re here for you, we’re fighting your corner, and we will not stop until each and every one of you feel safe.”

The Women’s Safety Unit will focus on improving outcomes for victims across West Yorkshire and holding police to account.

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Detective Chief Superintendent Lee Berry, the Head of the Women’s Safety Unit, said: “The safety of women and girls is a golden thread that runs through every element of our work to tackle serious violent crime across West Yorkshire.

“The creation of this dedicated unit will only enhance our capabilities, ensuring a truly co-ordinated response across communities.

“We are absolutely committed to changing the attitudes and behaviours of those men and boys who cause harm and the experiences of women and girls, this latest announcement is another clear statement of our intent.”

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Detective Superintendent Vanessa Rolfe, West Yorkshire Police’s Violence Against Women and Girls lead said: “We are pleased to be part of this innovative and collaborative partnership approach to tackling violence towards women and girls here in West Yorkshire.

“It cannot be underestimated how important working in partnership can be in supporting victims and providing an overall better service to our communities.

“West Yorkshire Police is committed to achieving an environment where women and girls are safe, and perpetrators are rightly brought to justice.”