West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson pens 'goodbye' message as he prepares to hand over to West Yorkshire mayor
West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has said it had been an "immense honour" to serve the region as he prepares to handover the reins to the incoming West Yorkshire mayor.
Mark Burns-Williamson was first elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2016.
In that time he has had the power to set West Yorkshire Police's budget and its priorities as well as hiring and firing the Chief Constable.
But whoever is announced as the first mayor for West Yorkshire on Sunday will take on his powers.
Mr Burns-Williamson, a former chair of the West Yorkshire Police Authority and Labour councillor on Wakefield Council, said: “It has been a really varied, interesting and at times challenging role covering much wider areas of community safety, support for victims and working with criminal justice, local government and many other valued community partners, as well as providing strategic policing governance and making tough decisions through austerity and other difficult times.
“I have lived and worked in West Yorkshire all my life and throughout my time as PCC I have always put the needs of West Yorkshire first."
Mr Burns-Williamson highlighted the opening of a new sexual assault referral centre, the establishment of the region's first violence reduction unit and the launching of the West Yorkshire and then the national anti-trafficking and modern slavery network among his achievements.
He was also the first PCC to set up a safer communities fund, with cash from proceeds of crime benefitting 827 projects around West Yorkshire since 2014.
Mr Burns Williamson said: "I have had the pleasure of visiting and seeing first-hand what great work they are doing at the grass roots level to prevent crime and raise awareness of many key issues ranging from hate crime, domestic abuse, road safety, sexual abuse to anti-social behaviour…the list goes on."
He added: “On a personal note I have always endeavoured to be visible, accessible and to make a positive difference.
"What stands out the most though is working with great and committed people, not just within West Yorkshire Police or my own office, but from all our diverse communities across West Yorkshire to our key partners, many of those who volunteer or as part of other emergency services and organisations where great partnerships have been established in the pursuit of our shared vision of ‘Keeping West Yorkshire Safe and Feeling Safe’.
“I absolutely want to express my sincere thanks for everything that everyone is doing to help keep our communities safe and feeling safe during such difficult times.
"I know there are challenges ahead and there is always more to do, but the way our police, NHS and other front-line services have adapted over the last 12 months to the COVID impact, as well as to other challenges that we have all faced has been phenomenal.
"I have felt really assured by West Yorkshire Police’s overall approach with wider partners and I can, and will indeed, look back with a sense of real pride in what we have been able to accomplish together in times of such ongoing adversity."