West Yorkshire’s newly re-elected crime commissioner says he will continue lobbying the Government for local forces to be given a greater share of criminals’ ill-gotten gains.
Mark Burns-Williamson, who will serve a second term after winning re-election earlier this month, has been lobbying since he first took on the role in 2012 for changes to the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).
He and other senior policing figures in Yorkshire say local agencies ought to get more than 50 per cent of the millions of pounds a year seized from suspected or convicted criminals.
Mr Burns-Williamson, has today launched what he described as a ‘big conversation’ to find out about what matters to people in the county so their priorities can be reflected in the Police and Crime Plan.
The consultation involves a survey on local people’s priorities as well as a social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter.
He said the proposal for local forces to get more than 50 per cent of POCA funds had a “lot of support” when he discussed it with voters in the run-up to the election.
He said: “With the Proceeds of Crime Act, the situation has not changed despite the Government saying they would look at this.
“There is a reference in the Queen’s Speech to looking at the Proceeds of Crime legislation, that is partly due to pressure that myself and others have exerted on the Government.
“I have constantly made this an issue and raised it with the Home Secretary. It is still the 50 per cent that goes back to Government. The other 50 per cent is shared locally.
“It is significant for us because West Yorkshire is one of the best performing forces. We have put £1.2 million back into the local community since I started as PCC and it has gone to a range of community organisations.
“We have also put a similar amount back into West Yorkshire Police for the teams that carry out this work, the specialist teams in our economic crime unit.
“Why aren’t we getting more of this back when 50 per cent of it is going to Government? I will be continuing the campaign to redress the the balance.”
For more information about the ‘big conversation’ visit www.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk/get-involved/your-priorities-your-plan.aspx, or to request a survey call (01924) 294000.