Mark to stand as police boss

Mark Burns-Williamson
Mark Burns-Williamson

CASTLEFORD councillor and police authority chairman Mark Burns-Williamson is to stand as Labour candidate for West Yorkshire Police commissioner when elections take place in November.

Coun Burns-Williamson, 48, is one of 41 Labour candidates announced this week being fielded in the commissioner elections across the country, who also include former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott.

Although Labour opposed the creation of police and crime commissioners – which will replace the current police authority system – Coun Burns-Williamson said his “experience and track record” meant he had to put himself forward.

He said: “These elections will cost £100-£150m, money which would be better spent on frontline policing, however, I have been chairman of West Yorkshire Police Authority for nearly ten years and chairman of the Association of Police Authorities, so I have a successful track record at local and national level.

“That’s an important aspect because West Yorkshire is one of the biggest forces in the country, and we need to make sure our views will be heard at the highest levels.

“I’m convinced I can be a robust advocate. It’s a big job and I want to work with various communities throughout West Yorkshire, to make sure their concerns are included in policing plans and priorities.

“It’s really important that neighbourhood policing continues to form the bedrock of policing throughout the county.”

West Yorkshire Police faces making £100m savings in the next four years – a 20 per cent cut which will see nearly 2,000 police officers and support staff being cut.

Coun Burns-Williamson added the police commissioner’s relationship with the chief constable would be key, but he would also want to foster good working relationships with the Crown Prosecution Service, probation service and community groups.

He said: “There’s a lot to do and I don’t want to underestimate the size of the task. But I want to work very hard in the future to make sure people in West Yorkshire receive the best policing service they can.”