WEST Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), West Yorkshire Police and other partners from across the county are coming together this week, albeit virtually, as part of their annual Safeguarding Week.

Safeguarding Week seeks to raise awareness of issues such as domestic abuse, child sexual exploitation, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, human trafficking and sexual offences, amongst others.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an additional challenge of late, with organisations saying that they have been working hard to ensure that vulnerable adults and children still have access to the vital services they need.

Across West Yorkshire this week, all of the five districts are hosting a number of different virtual activities, events and conferences, to help raise awareness of key issues during Safeguarding Week, and also to highlight what support is available across the region.

Mark Burns-Williamson OBE, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), said: “This week is a great opportunity to champion one of our collective core aims, safeguarding our communities and helping to keep people safe.  

“There’s no doubt that it has been a very difficult few months for everyone during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and we have all had to adapt our daily lives to these uncertain times. My office and West Yorkshire Police have strived during this time to ensure that vulnerable people still have access to key services across the region for vital support, help and advice more than ever.

“Safeguarding our communities, and in particular our young people, has always been a priority of mine. A variety of work has been carried out and still ongoing in this area including securing increased funding and resources, better co-ordination and information sharing, and sustained awareness raising campaigns, such as Safeguarding Week.“

“I would urge anyone to take a look at the various activities and services and get involved, and to contact their local authority or my office to see what is on offer. Specifically to learn about protecting themselves and others, and most importantly familiarise themselves with the range of support services that are there for them, if and when they need them."

Detective Superintendent Chris Gibson, from the Safeguarding Central Governance Unit, said: “Safeguarding the public is at the heart of everything we do as the police. Our officers and staff deal with people on a daily basis who are at their most vulnerable and by working with our partners we want to remind people that safeguarding is everyone’s business.

“The last few months during the coronavirus pandemic have been challenging for everyone, but I want to reassure people that my officers and staff are here, as they always have been to deal with any concerns and to help anyone who is suffering.

“Throughout Safeguarding Week we will be working with all our partners to highlight the help and support that’s out there. If you have any concerns about someone you know please report it.

“Now more than ever we need to look out for each other and help keep everyone safe.”

For more information on Safeguarding Week, visit www.westyorkshire.police.uk/SafeguardingWeek2020 and follow the hashtag on social media #SafeguardingWeek2020.