Shock police figures over missing people
CRIME: The amount of police time spent looking for missing people has been branded “startling” by West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
The force spent 18,700 days of officer time trying to find people who had disappeared in the year to April, which commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson called “a startling statistic”.
THE AMOUNT of police time spent looking for missing people has been branded “startling” by West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
The force spent 18,700 days of officer time trying to find children and adults who had disappeared in the 12 months to April, which commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson called “a startling statistic”.
Speaking at a meeting of the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel in Wakefield yesterday, he said the size of the challenge was “pretty stark”.
Chief Constable Dee Collins added: “This is a huge, huge issue for us.”
About two-thirds of missing people are under 18 and more than a third missing children are in care, the meeting heard.
Mr Burns Williamson said he was concerned at the growing number of private children’s homes as well as those unregulated by inspectors Ofsted as they look after young people aged 16 and over.
He said police bosses were “trying to understand how these places were being managed”.
He said predators were known to target young people living in children’s homes and the priority was “to try to prevent exploitation, whether it is sexual or potentially connected to modern slavery or county lines”.
Mr Burns-Williamson said West Yorkshire Police wanted more involvement in decisions about which homes young people were placed in.
The meeting also discussed rising levels of crime, including violent incidents, knife crime, robberies, acquisitive crime and sexual offences.
Mr Burns-Williamson said: “It is across a number of crime category areas and it is a concern that we have seen this increase.”
Victim satisfaction levels have continued to decline over the past few years, the meeting was told.
A quarter of victims of crime are now unsatisfied with the response they get from police, with panel members saying the impact of squeezed budgets was being felt.
Mr Burns-Williamson said: “Each district, you will see, is unfortunately showing drops in levels of confidence around not just policing but also community safety partnership activity. I think there are a number of reasons for that.”
Meanwhile, squabbling between NHS services and a police force over dealing with people at crisis point is causing “more harm than can be measured”, a separate meeting heard.
North Yorkshire County councillors expressed exasperation after hearing from both the county’s police and crime commissioner’s office and Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Trust that an agreement had been created specifically to counter confusion over mental health roles.
A meeting of the authority’s scrutiny of health committee heard while the increase on demand on North Yorkshire Police related to mental health had nearly doubled in the last couple of years, a lack of “health-based places of safety” to take people to meant police were spending hours transporting them across the county.
Members were told despite police vehicles being less than ideal for transporting people with mental health issues, last year police took 52 per cent of people to a place of safety, due to ambulance shortages.
A report stated: “Inter-agency squabbling over who should take primacy, who should transport, who should retain ownership is not in the best interest of the person in crisis and causes more harm than can be measured.”
It is a concern that we have seen this [crime] increase. Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner.