Police commissioner sets out his priorities during visit to Bradford (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Mark Burns-Williamson says NPTs and drug laws top the list
Buy this photo » Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson at the Unity Recovery Centre
Preserving Neighbourhood Policing Teams because they are a “bedrock of policing” was among the priorities outlined by West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner on a visit to Bradford yesterday.
Mark Burns-Williamson, who was elected in November, was at the Unity Recovery Centre in Manningham Lane to see the work that the Bridge charity does, helping drug addicts achieve abstinence.
He was at the centre with Councillor Ralph Berry, NHS Joint Commissioning Manager for Substance Misuse Liz Barry, Bradford Council Programme Lead for Alcohol and Drugs Nina Smith and Bridge chief executive Jon Royle.
Mr Burns-Williamson said: “I have met some people who have actually been through and used the services here.
“The drug and substance misuse scene is a lot different to what it was a few years ago and there is a lot of legislation around drug intervention programmes formed ten years ago which needs to be revisited.
“Things are happening around legal highs and different drugs and substances and the funding and legislation needs to reflect that. As PCC that is something that I will be taking up with the Home Office.”
Speaking about the pending first Police and Crime Plan for 2013/14, due by March 31, outlining his vision for West Yorkshire, Mr Burns-Williamson said it was a “work in progress”.
“Clearly people are concerned about the impact of cuts in services, particularly the NPTs and the front line,” he said. “The fact we haven’t been able to recruit that many police officers in recent times is a big priority for the public. They want to see continued investment in NPT teams and further recruitment of police officers.
“I am certainly looking at that in detail with regards to the budget.
“There is a general feeling that cuts across the board, and not just policing, but benefit cuts and how that will play out within different communities, means there is certainly a willingness of all partners to work closely together to address crime across the board. Burglary remains a key one and we will work to reduce burglary levels and the detection rate is another one.
“What I would say is that NPT is the complete bedrock of policing still in West Yorkshire.”
Coun Berry, strategic recovery champion for Bradford and Airedale Drug Treatment and Recovery System, said there was a time when Bradford was “awash with methadone dependency that never seemed to end”.
“We need to try to raise support for the recovery service because of the life improvements that could be made with consistent support which is most effective.”