LONG-serving police boss Mark Burns-Williamson OBE spoke about his "sense of pride and honour" to serve nears completion of his second term as West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).

The new West Yorkshire Mayor, who will be elected on May 6, will inherit the PCC functions and responsibilities as part of their remit in a new Mayoral Combined Authority.

Mr Burns-Williamson said: "It has been an immense honour to serve as the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire having been first elected in 2012 and then re-elected in 2016. It’s been a really varied and interesting role covering much wider areas of community safety and criminal justice, as well as strategic policing governance and accountability. I was recently reflecting that I have worked with every West Yorkshire Chief Officer, Home Secretary, Policing Minister and in some instances Prime Minister’s from around 2000 during my time, firstly at the Police Authority and then the last nine years as the PCC.

"What stands out the most is working with great people, whether that’s within the office/policing, partners or with the great and diverse communities of West Yorkshire where I have lived, studied and worked all my life. Despite the Covid challenges that we have all faced in the 12 months, I look back with a sense of real pride in what we have been able to accomplish together.

"Initiatives such as the Safer Communities Fund (SCF), which I launched in 2014 as a key commitment to distribute money recovered from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act, to good causes across West Yorkshire.

"The fund has gone from strength to strength, and as I finish my final term it has currently given out £3.77m to 827 projects making a real difference on the ground across our communities. This was ground-breaking at the time and I’m now pleased to say that most other PCCs across the country have adopted similar schemes to benefit grassroots groups and organisations.

"Tackling human trafficking and modern slavery has been one of my key focuses and I have been the national PCC lead for modern slavery for a number of years. I put extra resources into policing working closely with WYP to enable the creation of a dedicated team to look into these vile human rights abuses within West Yorkshire and also championed good practise and partnership working with the creation of the West Yorkshire Anti-Slavery Partnership locally as well as the National Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery Network for PCCs nationally which we launched at the Home Office in 2016."

He launched the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) to tackle violent crime, commissioned the Victim Support charity to provide support to victims and witnesses and helped commission a new Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) for victims of sexual violence and abuse.

He said: "In the current environment and in the wake of the awful Sarah Everard case this has never been more needed and believe this facility is now second to none in the country."

"In my experience, the police and our partners overwhelmingly are doing their very best to make a positive difference and do the right thing for our communities. It may not always be portrayed in that way, and of course we won’t always get it right, but the vast majority of officers and staff work tirelessly to keep us safe."