Tuesday, April 25, 2017
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DO THE CRIME

Manchester – Three illegal taxi drivers caught in Manchester have been ordered to pay a total of £2,785 after being prosecuted for breaking licensing rules.

In separate incidents, Manchester City Council officers routinely operating in the city centre observed the illegal activity.

Gary Edward Young was fined £1,050 with £655 costs and a £55 victim of crime surcharge. Young was also given eight penalty points after pleading guilty to operating an unlicensed private hire vehicle, operating as an unlicensed private hire driver and driving without insurance.

During the morning of Wednesday 25 June 2014, council officers observed Young drop off two passengers at Piccadilly Station, exchange money and provide a receipt. When challenged by officers, Young initially denied any offences – despite a working taxi-meter in the front of the vehicle showing a current fare of £28.50.

licensing-unitc-Manchester-councilYoung, 70, of Lymington Close, Middleton, pleaded guilty to all of the charges at Manchester Magistrates Court on 9 February 2015.

Mohammed Habib was fined £250 with £350 costs and a £25 victim of crime surcharge after pleading guilty to illegally plying for hire.

At around 2am on 4 May 2014, council officers observed two passengers flag down Habib’s Rossendale registered Hackney carriage on Deansgate. Only a Black Cab licensed by Manchester City Council is able to collect fares off the street without a booking.

Officers established that the passengers had agreed a £10 fare for a journey of less than a mile.

Habib, aged 30 and of Swayfield Avenue, Longsight, pleaded guilty to the offence of illegally plying for hire at Manchester Magistrates Court on 10 February 2015.

Sarmad Salih Abdulahi, 32, of Sandsend Close, Cheetham, was fined £220 with £160 costs and a £20 victim of crime surcharge. Abdulahi was also handed 6 penalty points after being found guilty of the offences of driving without insurance and being an unlicensed driver.

At 10am Wednesday 16 April 2014, council officers observed Abdulahi drop off a passenger at Piccadilly Station. The officers stopped Abdulahi and after interviewing advised he was to be prosecuted.

Abdulahi pleaded guilty to the charges at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on 18 February 2015, but declared special reasons for driving without insurance, stating he thought the car’s owner had insured him. This was dismissed by the Magistrates.

Cllr Kate Chappell, Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Environment, said: “These three prosecutions serve as a warning to rogue drivers – the consequences for illegally operating any taxi are both serious and costly.

“Our officers are working day and night around the city – if you are caught operating illegally, we will not hesitate to prosecute you.”

Manchester – A special litter busting team have handed out over 1,000 fixed penalty notices in just over three months.

The dedicated team work seven days a week looking out for selfish people who ignore bins and drop their litter on the ground.

Officers have the power to hand out on-the-spot fines to litter bugs- and anyone refusing to pay the £80 bill faces being taken to court.

7DL2_HThe team is part of a huge litter crackdown organised by Manchester City Council in response to concerns from residents about the problem.

The dedicated team of litter busters, who started working in the city centre in November 2014, are on the look out for people dropping cigarette butts, coffee cups, burger wrappers and other items.

The officers are part of a workforce already employed by NSL, the City Council’s parking contractors, and so the move has not created any additional cost to the City Council.

While most of the notices have been issued on Market Street, High Street and Piccadilly Gardens, the team are operating across the whole of the city centre.

Council officers from the Neighbourhood team will also continue to hand out fixed penalty notices, while around 25 PCSOs have also received additional training to look out for litter bugs.

IMG_5051-620x320The council has installed nearly 700 new litter bins, including 20 recycling bins, in the city centre as part of a major campaign urging residents and visitors to take responsibility and not drop litter.

Advertising slogans have been placed on paving slabs – thought to be a first for a British city – while grants have been provided to community groups who want to organise their own clean-up operations.

Cllr Bernard Priest, deputy leader of the council, said: “While litter bugs are in the minority, unfortunately there are still some selfish individuals whose behaviour is a blight on the city centre.The on-the-spot fines handed out make these litter louts take notice and realise that they will not be tolerated.

“The vast majority of local residents and visitors to Manchester don’t want to see our city being used as a rubbish dump. Working together with local residents, visitors and businesses- we can achieve a cleaner better city.”

Money laundering, as its name suggests, is a process where cash gained from crime is transformed into assets which appear to be legitimately gained.

It is naturally linked to profits made by drug dealers, but is also common among other forms of criminal activity, such as fraud.

Money Laundering SeriesCharged with tackling this crime in West Yorkshire is the force’s Economic Crime Unit, comprising detectives, financial investigators and Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) teams, who conduct investigations into recovering assets from criminals after they have been convicted.

In general terms, the handling of or any involvement with the proceeds of crime, such as cash or assets is considered money laundering.

Under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, police have the power to seize these assets and can apply to the courts to have them confiscated or forfeited and put back into community use. Those convicted are given a certain time to repay the money or face a longer jail sentence.

The maximum sentence for money laundering offences is 14 years imprisonment. There is also an offence of failing to report a suspicion of money laundering for which a maximum jail term of five years can be imposed.

Paul Capuvanno
Paul Capuvanno

Last December Bradford drug dealer Paul Capuvanno – already serving an eight-year sentence for drugs offences and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice – was ordered to repay £164,520 after detailed police work into his finances revealed that he owned an Aston Martin DB9 sports car and land at the site of a former school in Bradford.

This came after he initially claimed he had no assets to pay back an order made against him in 2009. He has been given six months to repay this amount or face a further two years in prison.

And last May, Halifax couple Julie and Anthony Nickerson were jailed for their involvement in a conspiracy to steal almost £2.5m from a firm supplying commercial laundry equipment.

The_laundered_money_759645223They used the cash to fund a lavish lifestyle, including the purchase of a £500,000 house, almost £200,000 on holidays, two prestige cars and a science fiction collection including collector’s items from Star Wars, Star Trek and Thunderbirds. The latter was auctioned off with the proceeds returned to the defrauded company.

In cases such as this, where there is a victim of crime, compensation for the victim is always sought through the confiscation order.

Money laundering’s links to drugs and other criminal activity highlight the importance of passing on information about people who are suspected of being involved in this illegal practice.

In the last financial year, West Yorkshire Police obtained confiscation orders totalling £11.5million, so if you have information about someone who appears to be living beyond their means call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111, or contact your local Area Neighbourhood Team.

 

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West Yorkshire Police is committed to tackling the supply of illegal drugs and has dedicated teams to target those involved in this kind of criminal activity.

Teenagers passing drugsIn Bradford, a recent undercover operation by the district’s Quartz team saw 119 street dealers jailed for a total of 364 years, and it is information from the public which helps contribute towards these kind of results.

The supply of drugs at any level can have serious implications for those involved.

The maximum sentence for someone convicted of supplying Class A drugs is life imprisonment and an unlimited fine or both. For Class B and C drugs, the maximum is 14 years and an unlimited fine or both.

And the penalties do not end there. Through the Proceeds of Crime Act, police are able to seize the assets of drug dealers and use this money to fund policing and community projects.

The law takes a dim view of people who supply drugs to others – they are viewed as peddling misery and harm to other people, who are often vulnerable.

Drug supply can also be detrimental to communities, as it tends to attract other criminals to the area. This can lead to more crime and create an environment where law-abiding members of society feel intimidated.

Drug-DealingThis is why it is important for members of the public to pass on any information they might have about drug dealing in their communities. This information can be given anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or by contacting a member of your local Area Neighbourhood Team.

Your information – which will be acted upon by officers – could prove to be a vital part of the investigation which brings offenders to justice.

As well as making notes of locations where drug dealing is suspected, it is also useful to alert police to people who appear to be living beyond their means.

Ask yourself – do they have the legitimate means of affording possessions like expensive cars and fashionable clothes? And most importantly, why should they make a living from dealing in other people’s misery.

By taking a stance against drug dealing in your area, you will be helping to make your community safer place and will be helping others in your area to feel safe.

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By Mark Burn Williamson

MBWThis New Year will see many developments in my role as Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for West Yorkshire including the potential roll out of our new Help for Victims website.

The Victims’ Code was introduced last year (2014) and I have already committed to putting victims and witnesses at the heart of everything we do.

The website, launched in October www.helpforvictims.co.uk is solely dedicated to victims and witnesses of crime and individuals can access all the information contained within the Victims’ Code and the Witness Charter as well as ask questions of trained advisors, access 400+ local support organisations and is translated into the five most spoken languages in Bradford and West Yorks.

We are hoping to roll that website out to other PCCs and police forces across England and Wales showing how we are leading the way in West Yorkshire.

2014 also saw the launch of my Safer Communities Fund, with 33 organisations in Bradford benefiting from £171,000 worth of proceeds of crime funding this year alone.

In 2015 the grant rounds start again and community/voluntary organisations can apply for funding demonstrating how their project meets the priorities in the Police and Crime Plan by visiting http://www.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk/safer-communities-fund.aspx.

This year will also see the continued challenge of keeping our communities safer with ever shrinking resources and budgets and we will need to work ever closer with our partners in how we provide improved community safety services for people of West Yorkshire and the wider region, ensuring they are safer and feel safer.

Another big change in Bradford is looking at how our Neighbourhood Policing Teams work within the community. We have created co-located hubs in Bradford and Keighley, with officers/staff working alongside partners from Bradford Council and others sharing information and working together to ensure communities have a visible police presence and also have access to the appropriate services when they need them.

2014 has also seen a joint campaign around tackling Hate Crime so victims and witnesses know what it is and where they can go to for help.

Hate crime takes many forms including verbal abuse, harassment, threats, intimidation, physical abuse and vandalism. It can have both a devastating effect on a single victim but also the potential to divide communities.

You can report it by calling 999 in an emergency or 101 in a non-emergency, online at www.westyorkshire.police.uk/hatecrime or www.report-it.org.uk or in person at a police station.

Last year, I also created the West Yorkshire Anti Trafficking Network (WYATN) with the Hope for Justice charity to tackle this awful problem and provide support for victims and training for frontline workers to ensure we get this hidden problem out into the open and deal with perpetrators of this vile crime.

Looking ahead, 2015 will have its challenges. We are expecting more severe Government cuts with £167million of overall savings that have had to be found by 2016/17.

That is more than 30 per cent of the overall budget and means we have to continually find ways of working smarter and more efficiently. It is testament to officers and staff that frontline policing continues to deliver and significant investment in new mobile technology means officers are out on the beat more rather than in offices desk bound.

But with the cuts set continue, we will have to make some tough decisions around where the money is spent and resources focused.

My Community Conversations, where I am out and about meeting people and listening to what you have to say about policing and community safety in your area, gives you the opportunity to tell me your concerns and tell me where you want money to be spent.

I am your elected voice and want to hear from you. In the New Year, the webchats I hold monthly will be continuing, as will my public surgeries and meetings. For more information visit http://www.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk, email consultation@westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk, or call (01924) 294000.

 

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By Mark Burn Williamson

MBW

Helping victims of crime, tackling human trafficking and making more proceeds of crime funding available to our communities show the progress made by West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner two years on.

Protecting frontline policing, tackling Child Sex Exploitation, providing increased resources to prevent domestic abuse and reducing burglary across the county are just some of the key achievements since I was elected two years ago.

Since being elected I have been delivering on the outcomes, priorities and commitments as set out in West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Plan 2013-18 providing strategic direction for policing and community safety that Mark produced after extensive consultation with partners and engagement with communities from across the county.

I continue to work with the public and colleagues in communities to prevent crime, reduce crime, reoffending and antisocial behaviour, provide more support to victims and witnesses, tackle local, regional and national risks and harm, make sure the criminal justice system is more effective and efficient and that police and partners have more resources.

My progress to date also includes launching a ground breaking website solely dedicated to helping victims and witness of crime, ploughing more than half a million pounds into community organisations with the Safer Communities Fund from the proceeds of crime and creating a West Yorkshire Anti Trafficking Network with the charity Hope for Justice.

Over the past two years, up to June 2014, I have visited more than 270 community groups and organisations, receives around 100 pieces of casework monthly from members of the public, through the Listening to You First consultations and Public Satisfaction surveys has heard about what matters from 34,094 people and has provided a voice to the people of West Yorkshire.

As PCC for West Yorkshire I reflect back on the last two years in post and feel proud of what the OPCC and West Yorkshire Police, working with many other partners, have been able to deliver in such a short space of time, working together increasingly makes a real difference to the lives of people in our communities.

Tackling child sexual exploitation, working to get more Proceeds of Crime money back into the community, leading the way on identifying and tackling human trafficking and protecting Neighbourhood Policing Teams (NPTs) are all part of the work I am committed to doing to ensure communities in West Yorkshire are safer and feel safer.

I have recently launched the Help for Victims website providing information and advice to victims and witnesses, with council leaders protected the level of PCSOs for two years and last week launched a Hate Crime campaign to raise awareness and encourage people who have been victims of hate crime to come forward and report it.

It’s important for me to continue to engage meaningfully with people living and working across the county and understand their priorities. Following on from my Listening to You First consultations, I have now started my Community Conversation to find out more about people’s concerns for policing and community safety and what matters to them.

The Safer Communities Fund which sees ill-gotten gains from Proceeds of Crime Act money handed back to communities affected by crime is currently in its fourth round and has already helped 123 community and voluntary groups, charities and other organisations with £567,000 of money donated so far in making a real difference in keeping communities safe and feeling safer across the county.

The Help for Victims website launched in October at www.helpforvictims.co.uk and this website will ensure victims and witnesses have access to all the knowledge they need to empower them to make informed decisions.

I have made five promises within my Police and Crime Plan to victims and witnesses including ensuring they get the high quality support and help they need, when they need it, in the way they need it from the right agency.

It is the only website with all these facilities in one place, that provides clear and concise advice to victims and witnesses who want to understand the criminal justice process and their rights, contained within the Victims’ Code.

There is also information for victims and witnesses to self refer to local organisations who can provide particular specialist victim and witness services beyond the website.

The last two years have certainly not been without their challenges and with severe and sustained Government cuts to the public sector, the policing budget has been slashed by almost 30 per cent. This puts a significant strain on already challenged public services, so it is crucial we continue to work better together to keep our communities safer.

drink-driving-leedsChristmas is generally a time for getting together with families and friends to celebrate the joy that the festive season brings. These celebrations mean parties, and parties generally mean alcohol. But sadly for some, this can lead to a greater temptation to drink and drive, which can mean fatal consequences – both for the driver of the vehicle and anyone involved in the resulting collision.

While recent research shows that attitudes have changed greatly towards drinking and driving over the decades, figures show that more than 2,000 people were convicted of drink or drug driving in West Yorkshire in 2012. And as you are reading this, West Yorkshire Police will have launched its seasonal campaign to crack down on those who choose to drink or take drugs, before getting behind the wheel of a car.

There are strict alcohol limits for UK drivers:

  • 35 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath
  • 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood
  • 107 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine

However, it is not possible to say how much alcohol you can drink and stay below the limit. Alcohol affects you depending on:

  • Your weight, age, sex and metabolism (the rate your body uses energy)
  • The type and amount of alcohol you drink
  • What you’ve eaten recently
  • Your stress levels

Penalties for drink driving include:

  • A minimum 12-month driving ban
  • A criminal record
  • A fine of up to £5,000
  • An endorsement on your licence for 11 years

Yet the consequences of drink driving can be far more wide ranging, including:

  • Increased car insurance costs
  • Job loss
  • Trouble getting into countries like the USA
  • Loss of independence
  • A prison sentence – causing death by dangerous driving carries a maximum sentence of 14 years’ imprisonment.

Hints and tips:

  • Beware the morning after
  • You could be over the legal limit for many hours after your last drink – even if it’s the ‘morning after’. Sleep, coffee and cold showers don’t help you to sober up.
  • There is no excuse for drink driving
  • Alcohol creates a feeling of overconfidence, which can make judging distance and speed more difficult, and can delay your reactions.
  • Most drink drive crashes occur within three miles of the start of the journey.
  • If you’re planning to drink alcohol, plan how to get home without driving
  • Agree on a designated driver, get a taxi or use public transport
  • Don’t offer an alcoholic drink to someone you know is planning to drive
  • Even if you’re not driving, you can help to reduce the number of people who are killed and injured every year through drink driving.
  • Don’t accept a lift from someone you know has consumed alcohol

West Yorkshire as a whole is tackling the issue of child sexual exploitation (CSE) with joint working crucial to ensuring victims feel safe and ensuring perpetrators are brought to justice.

Events have been brought into sharp focus recently by the report into CSE by Professor Alexis Jay’s independent report into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham.

It outlined failings where a culture of inaction and ignorance led to victims being failed on an industrial level. Those recommendations from that report need to be looked at by every police force and local authority across the UK.

That includes West Yorkshire, where I have sought assurances from the Deputy Chief Constable that those recommendations, are embedded and implemented on every level.

Because we need to ensure this is not happening here, and if it is, we are doing everything we can to root it out and deal with it

Education, awareness and training are the tools of power that we will use to combat this culture of fear, intimidation and threats that surround CSE.

I have recently met with child protection experts from across the county to discuss the recommendations from the Rotherham report on child sexual exploitation (CSE) and look at how we work better together going forward.

Children’s Services Directors from all five West Yorkshire Councils, Safeguarding heads and West Yorkshire Police all met at Carr Gate headquarters in Wakefield to discuss the work being done to engage in our communities, prevent children becoming victims, providing help and support for victims and making sure the perpetrators of this crime are punished.

Building on good work already being done we then discussed the creation of an action plan for West Yorkshire which would include increased awareness raising, improved information sharing and intelligence gathering and ensuring all agencies are taking a more joined up approach to tackling CSE.

Since 2012 in West Yorkshire the CSE Strategy Group involving the five Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards and West Yorkshire Police Safeguarding leads have come together to share good practice and work with victims to support victims and ensure prosecutions.

Important work has included the West Yorkshire-wide media campaign directed at parents to raise awareness “Know the Signs” and online grooming – “Do You Know Who You Are Talking To”, developing an app for young people, and with Together Against Grooming, a letter to mosques.

I chaired the meeting because it is crucial that all our thinking and work around CSE remains joined up with the victims at the heart of everything we do.

The turnout demonstrated how seriously this issue is treated here in West Yorkshire and what we are doing to tackle it proactively as well as seeing what we can learn from the recommendations contained in the Rotherham report and from each other.

Tackling CSE has always been one of my top priorities as well as other safeguarding issues, which is why I have previously brought partners together to focus and co-ordinate work on CSE and have made an extra £3.5m available to the police for increased capacity to deal with CSE, human trafficking and cyber crime.

Victims have to remain at the heart of everything we do and they need to know that they will be taken seriously, their concerns treated with the utmost respect and listened to, and their perpetrators brought to justice.

This issue needs bringing right out into the open for everyone to see and understand so there is no hiding place, there is no ‘hidden crime’ phrase related to CSE.

I would urge anyone, who believes they have been a victim of CSE, to contact the Police or their local authority, or my office, because they do not have to suffer in silence.

Having your own vehicle opens many doors to succeeding in life and gives you a greater sense of independence.

It can mean the difference between getting a job and unemployment and can also have a positive effect on your social status.

Best of all it allows you to travel around at your leisure, without having to rely on public transport.

But this can all be taken away from you very suddenly if you are convicted of drug driving.

It is illegal to drive if you’re unfit to do so because you’re under the influence of legal or illegal drugs.

Taking drugs will impair driving skills. Driving while under the influence of drugs is extremely dangerous and can affect driving in numerous ways.

Drug drivers can suffer from slower reaction times, erratic and aggressive behaviour, an inability to concentrate properly, nausea, hallucinations, panic attacks, paranoia, tremors (or ‘the shakes’) dizziness and fatigue. In such a condition, it is a bad idea to be behind the wheel of a car, for the driver and their passengers.

During the phase while the effects of drugs are wearing off, the taker may feel fatigued, which will affect their concentration.

If the police stop you and think you’re under the influence of drugs they can do a ‘Field Impairment Assessment’. This is a series of tests, where they might ask you to walk in a straight line and check your eyes for any suggestions that you might be under the influence of drugs.

If you’re deemed unfit to drive because of taking drugs, you will be arrested and will have a blood test at a police station. If the test shows you’ve taken drugs you could be charged with drug driving.

A conviction for drug driving will mean:

  • a minimum one-year driving ban
  • a fine of up to £5,000
  • a criminal record

Your driving licence will also show you have been convicted of drug driving. This will stay on your licence for 11 years and very likely see your car insurance premium rise significantly.

Should you be involved in a road traffic collision which results in the death of a person, you could be charged with causing death by dangerous driving, which carries a sentence of up to 14 years.

You don’t have to be on illegal drugs to be unfit to drive – many prescription or over-the-counter drugs can also impair your ability to drive. If you’re on or are about to take legal drugs and are not sure whether these will affect your driving, please talk to your doctor, pharmacist or healthcare professional.

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My name is Mark Burns Williamson and I was elected as your first Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for West Yorkshire in November 2012. As Police and Crime Commissioner I oversee policing on your behalf and for the whole of West Yorkshire, including Bradford, Wakefield, Leeds, Calderdale and Kirklees.

My main duties are to appoint the Chief Constable, hold the Chief Constable to account for the day to day delivery of policing, setting and updating the Police and Crime Plan, setting the force budget and the police precept in the Council Tax, operating an independent custody visitors’ scheme and importantly engaging with the public. The overall aim and vision being ensuring our communities are safer and feel safer.

I do this by ensuring I engage with in a variety of ways through public perception surveys, including the Listening to You First survey, and also by visiting communities and partners, including councils, charities, community organisations and schools, among many others, to hear what is important to you in your community.

That is why in the refreshed annual Police and Crime Plan, released in May 2014 I have put in new priorities, including road safety, cyber-crime and human trafficking.

You have told me that road safety is a problem for you, and that could include speeding motorists, inconsiderate parking or pavement obstructions and dangerous driving that puts others at risk. I was in Bradford recently holding a road safety meeting with key partners including Bradford Council and West Yorkshire Fire Service to hear about the issues important to you and what we can do working together to resolve these problems, including double parking on busy roads which sometimes prevents access to emergency services for example.

Making sure your priorities and concerns and what you care about most are reflected in the Plan is crucial to me because the Police and Crime Plan, available at www.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk, sets the strategic direction for community safety across our county.

Before becoming your PCC, I was a district Councillor for 15 years and also Chair of the former West Yorkshire Police Authority having lived, studied and worked in West Yorkshire all my life and having a good understanding of the challenges we face.

I am determined to see crime cut and tackle anti-social behaviour, put victims first and protect the most vulnerable. I have protected frontline policing, making sure that despite severe government cuts here in West Yorkshire (£157million by 2016/17), your Neighbourhood police officers and PCSOs have been protected working closely with your local Council and other partners in a more joined up and integrated way.

I have also established a Safer Communities Fund which gives community projects grants towards reducing crime and increasing feelings of safety in their communities. The fund is made up of money recovered from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act and for more information visit the website link for more details.

If you are a community group and feel you could meet the priorities in the Police and Crime Plan and would like to apply for money from the Fund visit our website to apply.

Your views are vitally important to me, so please let me know all about your community and any concerns you may have, or if you would like me to come and visit your community group, because together we can help ensure communities are safe and feel safe.

I can be contacted at contact@westyorkshire.pcc.pnn.gov.uk

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