Monday, August 21, 2017
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Crime

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Cyber bullying, like bullying in schools or anywhere else, is something that can cause great upset to those who are targeted by it.

cyberbulliesResearch suggests that one in five teenagers have been a victim of this form of harassment, which is committed through mobile phones and computers. West Yorkshire Police has recently been raising awareness of cyber bullying during a national week dedicated to highlighting online crime. Texting, posting or emailing anything to deliberately cause offence is considered cyber bullying and police will investigate all reports they receive about this kind of behaviour, which, if deemed serious enough, could result in a prison sentence for the bully.

Some examples of cyber bullying:

  • Posting an embarrassing or humiliating video of someone on a video-hosting site such as YouTube.
  • Harassing someone by repeatedly sending texts or instant messages in a chat room.
  • Setting up profiles on social networking sites, such as Facebook, to make fun of someone.
  • ‘Happy slapping’ – using mobiles to film and share videos of physical attacks.
  • Posting or forwarding someone else’s personal or private information or images without their permission.
  • Sending viruses that can damage another person’s computer.
  • Making abusive comments about another user on a gaming site.

Victims are advised to take screen shots where possible and tell someone they trust. If it occurs on a social networking site or application, users are advised to report incidents to the site or application provider. Keep passwords private and, if you are unfortunate enough to become a victim of cyber bullying, use a blocking or delete function where possible to prevent further contact from this person. Even if you’re not the one who started it, you become part of it when you laugh at a message that could be hurtful or threatening to someone else, or forward it on. Don’t get dragged into cyberbullying. Think about what you say in text messages, chat rooms and emails. Could your words be used to hurt someone else, or could they be turned against you?

For more information about staying safe online, go to www.westyorkshire.police.uk/cse/onlineguides

by Mark Burns Williamson
by Mark Burns Williamson

Times are increasingly tough for police officers and staff, those working for local authorities and other organisations working to keep our communities safe as severe government cuts continue to hit hard.

However over the last few weeks I have been out and about in the Bradford area to see first-hand the crucial work being done in our communities by Neighbourhood Policing Teams and our partners.

Neighbourhood Policing Teams (NPTs) have been the bedrock of community policing for a number of years, ensuring people feel safe, and being the first port of call for any local problems or issues that may arise. It’s crucial I get out and visit officers and staff to hear about their good work and visit the communities they work within.

One such project locally that I visited just weeks ago helps to improve engagement between the community and police involves futsal, a version of five-a-side football which is played with a smaller, brighter and softer ball than the traditional game.

4I witnessed first-hand the success of the football scheme for deaf people in the city, when, along with officers I donned a football kit to take part in a very enjoyable game at the Prism Deaf Youth Club in Girlington.

Funding for the eight-week project was obtained from a lottery-funded scheme West Yorkshire Sportivate, which gives people aged 11 to 25 who are interested in sport the chance to experience it through a short programme of coaching.

It was launched by PC Jo Armstrong from the Bradford City Area Neighbourhood Team, who teamed up with Sam Allen from the deaf community to improve engagement between themselves and the police. A similar scheme has also been running at Hanson School Academy.

Sports such as futsal are a great way to promote community cohesion and increase self-esteem, confidence and motivation. I helped hand out certificates and medals to the youngsters that took part and was impressed with the commitment and those that made this very positive scheme happen.

I also attended the community contact point at Low Moor, Victoria Park, and spoke to the local volunteers, police and councillors about the work they do to run it. The contact point opens on Monday’s and Wednesdays from 09:30am to 11:30am and is an opportunity for local residents to get advice or report crimes. The dedication of the volunteers was clear to see and the difference it made in the local community was obvious in building up trust and confidence.

I was also in Keighley recently where I visited Lund Park and spoke to members of the public who live close by.

16There were a number of incidents of anti-social behaviour late last year that were reported to my office and I personally wanted to visit the area and speak to local people. I was reassured to hear that these kind of incidents are being dealt with by local NPT officers, who are providing reassurance to communities affected.

Another noteworthy development is the opening of the Bradford Centre of Excellence: Positive Pathways for Young People which is a new initiative that delivers targeted interventions about the consequences of crime.

The centre, which is located in Girlington Community Centre in the Toller area of Bradford, uses a series of theatrical sets, such as a courtroom, a prison cell, as well as a shop and park where crime might happen. Mentors can use these sets to get over to young people what crime can involve and the negative impact it can have on their lives, as well as victims, families and communities.

Experience from similar projects elsewhere in the country shows that these kinds of interventions deliver great improvement in the numbers of young people who return to mainstream education and refrain from further crime.

The initiative has been funded by Bradford Council and my Safer Communities Fund and has been developed in partnership with West Yorkshire Police and other partners in the youth justice system.

This is a great initiative for Bradford and for Yorkshire. Many young people aren’t aware of the consequences of crime. Raising awareness amongst young people of the impact crime can have on their life and the lives’ of other people is an important step in preventing crime and building a safer community.

All of the above are just a snapshot of the work being done in communities to make people feel safer and engage youngsters working with volunteers and NPTs. I am delighted to be able to visit these projects and use my Safer Communities Fund to be able to support some of this good work being done by charities and volunteers.

The next round of that fund should be ready to receive applications in the coming months.

So I believe it’s important to remember, despite the severe cuts and challenges faced by police and our partners, the vital work being done in communities, by police officers, staff, volunteers and the engagement of youngsters and adults alike.

I will continue to be out and about across Bradford and West Yorkshire, speaking to members of the public about policing and community safety and the concerns they face in their communities and ensuring our shrinking resources are effectively targeted in tackling crime and keeping our communities safe.

To contact me visit www.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk.

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The National Police Counter Terrorism Network and partners have rolled out the next phase of an awareness raising campaign designed to reach out to families, to help prevent young people travelling to Syria.

The campaign will involve radio and press adverts appearing in minority ethnic media across the country from today, Monday 16 March.

The adverts highlight the strong bond between a mother and daughter and how that relationship can have a powerful influence on a young woman and the decisions she makes. They encourage mothers to have open discussions with their daughters about issues such as travelling to Syria and what they are viewing online.

In the last year 22 women and girls have been reported missing to police by families who feared they have travelled to Syria, putting them in serious danger and leaving their families devastated.

The campaign recognises that it is mothers who often spot changes in behaviour or signs someone may be considering travelling to a conflict that millions are desperate to escape.

By encouraging mothers to have an open dialogue with their daughters, it is hoped that potential interest in travelling to Syria will be picked up at an early stage and that the mother will be able to take action, either by challenging the misconceptions or seeking help from other agencies, including the police.

Families are also encouraged to reach specially trained officers for help and advice by calling 101 or visiting www.preventtragedies.co.uk. This is a dedicated webpage, newly created as a one-stop-shop for concerned families to visit if they would like further information or advice around this issue. The website also provides links to a range to a range of further organisations working in this field.

Leaflets supporting the campaign will also be provided to police forces to distribute locally by Prevent officers and partners.

Senior National Coordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing, Helen Ball said: “This advertising campaign is part of our sustained efforts to continue to raise awareness around this very serious issue.

“We care deeply about the well-being of women and girls throughout the world. We reject the degrading treatment of women by terrorist organisations and seek to prevent the tragedies caused by it.

“We are increasingly concerned about the numbers of young women who have travelled or are intending to travel to Syria. It is an extremely dangerous place and the reality of the lifestyle they are greeted with when they arrive is far from that promoted online by terrorist groups. The option of returning home is often taken away from them, leaving families at home devastated and with very few options to secure a safe return for their loved one.

“We want to increase families their confidence in the police and partners to encourage them to come forward at the earliest opportunity so that we can intervene and help.”

Kalsoom Bashir from Inspire said: “Having seen the devastation facing families where a loved one has travelled to Syria I would advise families to keep their children close – to constantly remind them that they are loved, that they are part of a strong family network and that they can talk to you about anything they are worried about.”

This has been the message highlighted by West Yorkshire Police in its most recent burglary campaign, which aims to make people think about the true cost of burglary – both emotionally and financially.

House burglaries in West Yorkshire are currently down by more than 600 offences compared to the last financial year, and the force is working hard to continue this trend.

Einbrecher an einem FensterEvery day, officers from West Yorkshire Police see the devastating impact that a burglary can have on individuals and families.

A burglar may know how much they can get for a second-hand laptop or a mobile phone, but they do not appreciate the value people place on feeling safe in their own home.

The true cost of burglary is not just an insurance claim; it can lead to sleepless nights, feelings of anger and helplessness, family upset and the loss of treasured memories and personal items, such as jewellery and family heirlooms.

For while a laptop or camera can be replaced, unless you have backed up your documents and photos elsewhere you might never get them back.

Some simple steps to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of burglary

  • Always lock your doors and windows – even when you’re in (one in four burglaries occur when a door has been left unlocked)
  • Don’t leave cash or valuables on show
  • Leave a light, radio or television on when you leave the house
  • Don’t open your door to unexpected callers – speak to them through a letterbox or window
  • Upgrade Euro-cylinder door locks to ones which meet the highest security standards

For more information about crime prevention, please see the Help & Advice section on the West Yorkshire Police website (www.westyorkshire.police.uk) or contact your local Area Neighbourhood Team on 101.

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By Mark Burns Williamson

2015 brings its own challenges with budgets stretched ever tighter and difficult decisions on how to best spread resources having to be taken.

We also have the General Election in May and the current Government have to recognise that continually taking money away from a resource as crucial as policing is having long lasting implications and needs to be halted.

We have already lost a significant number of frontline officers and staff since the start of cuts in 2010/11 and more will follow compromising our ability to deliver unless the spending review with regards policing is not re-thought.

Mark Burns Williamson
Mark Burns Williamson

Against those challenges it is important to recognise the difficult job officers and staff do day in and day out working in our communities to keep them safe. They know the risks and tackle them daily on behalf of all our communities in West Yorkshire, but we must not forget the challenges facing them.

We must remember the sacrifices they make daily, how they put themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe and secure living in a peaceful society we can be proud of. One that we should never take for granted.

Our diversity is also one of our greatest strengths and our communities are all the more richer for the different and wide ranging cultures contained within them, but sometimes tensions are raised.

2015 also brings with it opportunities and different challenges including the work being done to help victims of human trafficking with the creation of the dedicated Human Trafficking Unit, as part of West Yorkshire’s Serious and Organised Unit (SOCU) to investigate the most complex criminal cases.

That comes after we set up, in conjunction with the Hope for Justice charity, the West Yorkshire Anti Trafficking Network which is currently delivering important awareness training to 3,500 frontline staff and officers across West Yorkshire, as well as staff from partner agencies about how to spot the signs of trafficking and tackle it.

I believe the work we have undertaken so far and the work my office, West Yorkshire Police and our partners are planning going forward we will ensure West Yorkshire are leading the way and being a positive example on tackling Human Trafficking for other areas both nationally and internationally.

A College of Policing report recently titled Estimating Demand on the Police Service shows the increasing demand being put on dedicated officers and staff while budgets continually decrease, the significant cuts imposed by government fail to recognise the increasing complexity and demands faced.

While it is reassuring that overall crime has reduced in West Yorkshire, police officers are being required to deal with more complex crimes associated with Child Sexual Exploitation, public protection and safeguarding to name but a few.

This means more pressure put on officers, with one police officer for every 445 members of the public in 2014 nationally, an increase of 50 people per officer since 2010.

In spite of repeatedly pointing out to government the unfairness of the way cuts are made, every force area continues to get the same percentage reduction in grant irrespective of need, demand and threats.

West Yorkshire relies much more heavily on government grant, which pays for around 80per cent of our spending. We are therefore hit much harder by the cuts than other areas which equates to tens of millions every year.

The Home Office police grant figures mean that West Yorkshire Police has to find more than £33.8million in savings this year, on top of the £103m already made in the last three years…with a projection of at least a 40% budget cut overall by the end of the next spending review.

I maintain that this money needs to go towards frontline policing to help people feel safe, working ever more closer with our partners in local government, NHS, criminal justice, emergency services and our community.

This year will see me continue to go out and about across West Yorkshire, including Bradford, speaking to members of the public about policing and community safety and the concerns they face in their communities and ensuring our shrinking resources are effectively targeted.

To contact me visit www.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk.

Bradford MP, David Ward MP has today published details of his Private Members Bill in Parliament calling for off road vehicles to be registered to assist the Police with dealing with anti-social behaviour across Bradford.

David published the text of the Off-Road Vehicles (Registration) Bill 2014-15 in Parliament today which will make provision for the establishment of a compulsory registration scheme at the point of sale for all off-road motorcycles and quad bikes.

The use of off road vehicles like Quad and Dirt Bikes on our roads is illegal but there is a particular problem in Bradford where these vehicles are used on roads and estates in order to speed, making a large amount of noise and generally causing a large amount of anti-social behaviour. 15% of all anti-social behaviour calls to West Yorkshire Police relate to the use of Off-Road Vehicles.

David’s Bill will ensure that when Off Road Vehicles are sold, they will have to be registered. The legislation is not retrospective so it will take time for all vehicles to be registered whether new or resold 2nd hand but before long a comprehensive register of off road vehicles would be in place.

David Ward with the Quad Squad
David Ward with the Quad Squad

This means that the Police will be able to access records on a vehicles make and model which will better allow them to identity the perpetrators and take enforcement action. David has met with colleagues from West Yorkshire Police on many occasions to discuss his ideas and they welcome David’s Bill as an effective method in helping the Police track those taking part in anti-social behaviour in Bradford and across the country.

The 2nd Reading of David’s Bill will be on Friday 27th February and ensures that those found to be possession of vehicles that should be registered face a fine of £1,000 and where necessary confiscation of the offending vehicle.

Talking about the Bill, Bradford MP David Ward said:

“The use of off road vehicles in an anti-social manner has proved to be a real problem across Bradford and that’s why we need to ensure that the Police have all the necessary powers available to them to take effective action.

“The registration of dirt bikes and quad bikes after the point of sale would greatly enhance the ability of the Police to identify and prosecute those people using these vehicles in a dangerous and anti-social manner.

“West Yorkshire Police tell me that the registration of off-road vehicles would be significant step in helping to tackle crime, reduce antisocial behaviour and improving road safety in Bradford.”

 

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.”

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An innovative new centre to tackle youth crime is set to open in Bradford.

Bradford Centre of Excellence: Positive Pathways for Young People is a new initiative that delivers targeted interventions about the consequences of crime.

The programmes that the centre puts on are designed and presented by ex-offenders and prisoners to young people from across the Bradford District who are “at risk”.

“At risk” young people include those who are vulnerable or excluded, and those who are already offending or who have fallen into problematic lifestyles. The centre’s role is to provide vital support that helps young people resolve problems and chose a positive future.

The centre, which is located in Girlington Community Centre in the Toller area of Bradford, uses a series of theatrical sets, such as a courtroom, a prison cell, as well as a shop and park where crime might happen. Mentors can use these sets to get over to young people what crime can involve.

Cllr Imran Hussain
Cllr Imran Hussain

Experience from similar projects elsewhere in the country shows that these kinds of interventions deliver great improvement in the numbers of young people who return to mainstream education and refrain from further crime.

The initiative has been funded by Bradford Council and has been developed in partnership with West Yorkshire Police and other partners in the youth justice system.

The centre will be officially opened by the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Coun Mike Gibbons, on Wednesday, 18 February 2015.

Cllr Imran Hussain, Deputy Leader of Bradford Council, said: “We know that crime can blight communities and young people’s lives. It also comes at a huge financial cost. This is a very exciting initiative. It demonstrates the Council’s commitment to making young people of the district a priority and will help them make the right choices and avoid getting involved in crime.”

Mark Burns Williamson
Mark Burns Williamson

Mark Burns-Williamson, Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, said: “This is a great initiative for Bradford and for Yorkshire. Many young people aren’t aware of the consequences of crime. Raising awareness amongst young people of the impact crime can have on your life and the lives’ of other people is an important step in preventing crime and building a safer community.”

Mick Chandsoor, Project Lead for the centre, said: “All the programmes the centre will deliver for young people will be done with the help of mentors who have served time in prison. We believe this is vital to success, as our mentors are able to tackle the misconceptions many young people have about prison and prison life.”

Kallum Robert Inman, aged 19 on the Princes Trust Programme, said: “The centre will be really useful for young people. People can do stupid things and get themselves into trouble without realising the consequences.  The centre will help people realise where crime can lead to.”

Organisations can arrange to visit the centre by contacting Mick Chandsoor, Project Lead, Bradford Centre of Excellence – Positive Pathways for Young People, on 07582109733.

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Bradford Council is working with other local authorities and major housing associations, including Incommunities, as part of the Yorkshire and Humberside Tenancy Fraud Forum, encouraging people to report tenancy fraud as part of Tenancy Fraud Awareness Week, which runs up to Friday 6 February.

images1N4CTDRYExamples of tenancy fraud include tenants letting out their home without the council’s or housing association’s permission, getting a home by giving false information or moving out of the property without ending their tenancy.

Tenancy fraud was made a criminal offence in October 2013 and since then, Bradford Council’s Fraud Unit has received 64 allegations from a variety of sources. This has led to 13 properties being returned to housing associations in a time where demand for social housing is rising, proving how vital this work is.

Martin Stubbs, Assistant Director of the Revenues and Benefits Service at Bradford Council, said: “We take any type of fraud committed against the council or housing associations very seriously. We don’t want people to think that tenancy fraud is a victimless crime – it deprives families and individuals of the homes that they desperately need.

imagesBO7HXMX7“We would urge people to help us to stamp out fraud by reporting their suspicions.”

Karen Lee, Director of Incommunities – Neighbourhood Services, said: “We are committed to cracking down on any Incommunities tenants who are found to be involved in this type of fraud such as  illegal sub-letting. We would urge anyone who may be aware of such a practice at one of our properties to contact the Council in the first instance.”

You can report tenancy Fraud in confidence by calling 01274 437511 or by emailing reportfraud@bradford.gov.uk.

 

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