YEP Letters: January 24

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Check out today’s YEP letters.

Safeguarding these children is a top priority

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner

WITH REFERENCE to your recent editorial regarding the HMIC child protection inspection in West Yorkshire (YEP, January 13), I want to reassure your readers that protecting our children is of vital importance to me, West Yorkshire Police and our partners in Leeds and county wide.

I have made that absolutely clear in the Police and Crime Plan and have discussed it regularly with the Chief Constable.

In September last year I arranged a meeting with all the safeguarding experts from across West Yorkshire to ensure we are sharing best practice and to see what can be done better across West Yorkshire.

In February 2014 I made an extra £3.5m available to the police for increased capacity to deal with Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), Human Trafficking and Cyber Crime, such criminality often being inter-related.

Recently, £1.5m of that money paid for up to 30 specialist investigators to progress enquiries in the growing number of reported sexual offences following Savile and the Rotherham report. This is about strengthening our safeguarding response in West Yorkshire.

I have made an additional £467,000 commitment to initiate further work to 
address CSE which aims to increase awareness in schools and to offer more support to victims.

It is important to note that the HIMC report was completed last August and a number of positives were identified in the report such as cases where frontline officers and staff demonstrated good awareness of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and took decisive action to protect children from harm and recognising that good partnerships are in place.

However, there were also concerns identified by HMIC including West Yorkshire Police devolving responsibility to the five districts resulting in inconsistent practice and I am in talks with the temporary Chief Constable to make sure the force addresses all the recommendations included in the report and that appropriate progress is made on implementing the action plan as agreed by safeguarding partners.

I have been calling for some time for the HMIC to work with other inspection bodies in areas like safeguarding which would be more beneficial for all concerned in providing a much more rounded picture, which has so far fallen on deaf ears in government.

Here in West Yorkshire, we are working better together to ensure safeguarding vulnerable children remains a top priority for police and partners and that we are doing everything we can to protect our children from harm against the backdrop of significant government cuts to policing and public sector resources when demand and risk is going up.

A violation of human rights

Pauline Johnson, Beeston

FURTHER to your story on the call for more fluoridation of water supplies (YEP, January 14), I agree that 26,000 children going to hospital for tooth extractions across England is unacceptable.

However, that tooth decay is not caused by a fluoride deficiency.

It is caused by lack of dental hygiene, consuming sugary drinks, eating too many sweets and sugary things.

This also causes obesity which will lead to diabetes as they grow older.

The solution is education for those children and their parents.

Food manufacturers need to reduce the amount of sugar in their products.

Parents need to be responsible with their children’s breakfast and make sure they clean their teeth before going to school.

Adding fluoride to water will not solve the problem and could create health problems which would place an added burden on the NHS, if it still exists by then.

Fluoridation is mass medication and a violation of human rights.

Better spent on our care homes

E Heaton, Beeston

I AGREE with MP George Mudie’s comments on the proposed closure of four 
more care homes to save £12m over four years (YEP, January 19).

I think this is outrageous when you take into account the fact that almost £3m was spent on the park and ride at Elland Road.

I have heard that when it starts making a profit the money will go to First Bus and nothing to the council.

In my opinion this money could have been better spent keeping care homes open or other amenities.

I know the Government has made the council trim their budget, but was it meant to result in these kinds of cuts?

The fun never starts for me

Mavis Harrison, Leeds

RECENTLY WATCHING the news I saw party leaders shouting at each other and MPs on both side of the house rolling with laughter at their leaders’ outbursts.

Are they there for entertainment at our expense?

I don’t find it amusing in the least and their antics are not for one night only – repeats will surely follow.

Sensible reason for this closure?

C Carnell, Tingley

With regards to the article on credit unions (YEP, January 21), in 2004/5. When legislation was altered allowing credit unions to be opened up, the late Councillor Joe Tetley and I spent about 12 winter Saturdays at Windsor Court in Morley handing out leaflets.

Subsequently we had several meetings with Leeds City Council as a result of which we were giving an empty office in Morley Town Hall.

This was the first and most profitable public outlet, until the crash came some years later, when most outlets were closed. When Chris Smyth took over all the outlets were then re-opened except for the jewel in the crown – the one at Morley Town Hall.

Why? Is this a political battle between Leeds City Council (Labour) and Morley District Council (Morley Borough Indpendents) or is there a sensible reason?