CRIMINALS’ ill-gotten gains seized in West Yorkshire should be returned to the region to help the affected communities.

That’s the view of the newly-elected West Yorkshire Police Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson.

And he revealed in Huddersfield that he is lobbying the Government for a change to the current Proceeds of Crime system – which could return £12m a year to crime-hit communities.

Mr Burns-Williamson said: “At a time of deep budget cuts of 20% to policing, this cash could be put to very good use.

“As a matter of principle why are the areas affected by crimes not receiving most, if not all of this money?”

Under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, confiscation orders are imposed on criminals, ensuring they pay the penalty for their illegal activity.

But currently half of this cash is returned direct to central government and the remainder shared between the Crown Prosecution service and the community.

Mr Burns-Williamson was in Huddersfield yesterday for a tour of Lifeline – the drug and alcohol treatment and recovery service.

It will be part of his new role to determine which services are commissioned from the 2014-2015 policing budget.

He added: “From the next financial year there will be a 20% reduction in budget and I am meeting with stakeholders because clearly things will need to change.”

But he added: “These are not decisions that are going to be taken lightly.”

Lifeline service manager Chris Lawton said: “It’s important the crime commissioner understands what we do, as in the future he is ultimately going to be commissioning the services we provide.”

The force is currently facing the biggest shake-up to policing in a generation with £64m of savings already made, and the 2013/14 budget cut by £18m.

Mr Burns-Williamson said: “Some 80% of our budget is spent on people, however, I am firmly committed to reducing the impact on front line policing.

“I will look at more ways to increase efficiencies and generate income and at the same time will keep on challenging the unfairness of the cuts to our region.”

Before his tour of the Lifeline base in Station Street, the commissioner had met civic and community leaders and councillors in a meeting at Huddersfield Town Hall.

The aim was to discuss concerns over policing and crime reduction in the Kirklees area.

He said: “The meeting was an opportunity for those attending to raise a whole range of issues they feel need bringing to my attention.

“It is one of five events that I am holding, one in each of the districts of West Yorkshire, and we will be exploring issues to incorporate into the Police and Crime Plan.”

To ensure the public’s views are heard, Mr Burns-Williamson has launched a Listening To You campaign to gather feedback ahead of completing and submitting the Police and Crime Plan.

To have a say on how the funding is allocated a survey has been set up at:

Go online at: or for a printed copy call 01924 294 000.

Five-year jail sentence for sex attacker who terrorised dog-walker in Greenhead Park: Click here to read.