20 December, 2016

Policing Minister visits North Yorkshire

Last week (15 December) the Policing and Fire Service Minister, Brandon Lewis MP, visited Skipton to discover how North Yorkshire Police is tackling some of the major challenges facing local communities in rural areas and county towns.

As part of the visit, which was hosted by Julia Mulligan, the Police and Crime Commissioner, the Minister spent time on patrol with roads policing officers who are taking-on cross-border criminals using the latest Automatic Number Plate Technology (ANPR). The Minister saw how the £1m investment in ANPR, including funding from the Police Transformation Fund, is benefitting the public, especially those communities living close to the county border.

The Minister also took part in a round-table discussion with the Police and Crime Commissioner, local Inspector Geoff Crocker and others, about how we protect vulnerable people, and especially children, from abuse and sexual exploitation.

Hand in Hand, part of the Children’s Society, joined the discussion as they have recently been appointed by Julia Mulligan to provide one to one support to help children and young people across North Yorkshire who are at risk, or victim of, an abusive relationship.

Commenting on the visit PCC Julia Mulligan said:

“I am delighted the Minister chose to visit North Yorkshire and find out more about the challenges of policing our unique area. We are the largest rural policing county in the country and I am determined to make sure that villages, farms and rural communities don’t “come second” to the policing of metropolitan areas.  

“However, as well as effective policing, we also need to ensure vulnerable victims, especially children, are supported properly when they are at risk of harm. In North Yorkshire, Hand in Hand provide one of a range of new services I have put in place across the county to support children. They deliver specialist one to one support for victims of exploitation, working very closely with the police here and over our borders, so I was pleased the Minister was able to hear about their important work first hand. 

“We are one of the safest places to live in the country but we are surrounded by areas with much higher crime rates. This means we have to be particularly vigilant in tackling cross border crime, whether that be protecting vulnerable children, or criminals targeting people in more remote rural communities.”

Zoe Stephenson-Jones, service manager of the Hand in Hand project said:

“Wherever you live, from Skipton to Scarborough and Richmond to Selby, we are here to support and protect vulnerable children.  We work closely with the police and other agencies to make sure we can identify and help young people in exploitative relationships.  Working in rural areas can provide particular challenges, especially when children may live in one area and go to school in another, but we overcome those issues by working together and always put the needs of children first.”

Minister for Policing and the Fire Service Brandon Lewis said:

“It was a pleasure to visit North Yorkshire Police and see how they are transforming their capabilities to tackle crime and help the vulnerable. The force’s collaborative work with the local authority, West Yorkshire Police and Hand in Hand really shows how joint working can help support young people and adults at some of the most difficult moment in their lives. 

“We recognise that policing in rural communities presents its own unique challenges and North Yorkshire’s work as the lead force on Automatic Number Plate Recognition, following their successful Police Transformation Fund bid, highlights how digital approaches to policing can support communities in rural areas.”