Saturday, June 24, 2017
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Crime

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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By Nigel Gray

While at the gym other day I got talking to a guy about what I did for a living. I told him that I was a social worker who worked with children and families. He asked what it entailed and I replied that I dealt with child protection. What, he asked, were the main concerns regarding child protection? I said that one of the main areas I dealt with was domestic abuse/violence. Well, he said, it’s only drunks that get involved with that. Well no it isn’t, I informed him. If it were only drunks that became embroiled in domestic abuse, there would be far less demand for social workers dealing with it.

domestic_violenceYou see, what a lot of people don’t know or should I say, recognise, is that domestic violence does not discriminate and happens in all spheres and walks of life. So, not only can it occur in among what I believe this guy was thinking, white heterosexual couples, it can also occur in same-sex relationships. Also, domestic violence is no respecter of age and is apparent across ethnic and economic backgrounds. So, whether you are 0 months old and still in your mother’s womb or 60, rich or poor, black or white, man or woman, domestic violence does not discriminate. And while it may be generally understood that women are more commonly victims of domestic abuse/violence, men are also being abused, though to a lesser degree.

Domestic-violenceIn regards to the conversation, I happened to have some facts floating around in my head and thought I would leave him with a few to digest. Did you know, I said, that 2 women are killed every week in England and Wales by a current or former partners (Homicide Statistics, 1998), or that 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence over their lifetimes (Council of Europe, 2002). I also informed him that domestic violence has a higher rate of repeat victimisation than any other crime (Home Office, July 2002). There are, I told him, approximately 635,000 incidents of domestic violence reported every year in England and Wales and of these, 81% of the victims were women and 19% were men 2001/02, British Crime Survey (BCS).

On average, a woman is assaulted 35 times before her first call to the police (Jaffe, 1982). Furthermore, 30% of domestic violence either starts or will intensify during pregnancy (Department of Health report, October 2004). Also, foetal morbidity from violence is more prevalent than gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia (Friend, 1998).

shameDomestic violence affects men and women and girls and boys from all ethnic groups though the form the abuse takes may be different. I know personally that in some communities, domestic violence can be perpetrated by extended members of the family and may include forced marriage, or female genital mutilation. In addition, women from Black or minority ethnic communities may feel more isolated that their white counterparts and not want to report it for fear of bringing shame onto their ‘family honour’. These women may also feel religious or cultural pressures hinder them from.

While the guy in the gym may have got his information about domestic abuse/violence from EastEnders script, I hope I left him with some food for thought when I said, domestic violence doesn’t just occur when the guy leaves the pub or has too many whiskies sat on his backside watching TV at home. No, my misinformed friend. Domestic violence is everywhere. And if 1 out of 4 women are victims of it, then as surely as the day is long, you will know someone who is suffering from it!

For further help and assistance with domestic abuse, please contact the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline: 0808 2000 247

Or visit their website at: www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk

By Mark Burns Williamson

Mark Burns Williamson
Mark Burns Williamson

I have previously spoken out about the need for more awareness around how to tackle human trafficking and last year held the first event of its kind in West Yorkshire where partners came together to look at how we deal with this significant emerging threat.

Human trafficking can include forced labour, or services, domestic servitude, sexual offences and other forms of exploitation. Those descriptions do nothing to convey the true horror and nightmare faced by those human trafficked each and every day, with numbers steadily rising, although the true figure is probably much higher than we predict.

Since that event last April, events have gathered pace and we have recently announced the establishment of the West Yorkshire Anti-Trafficking Network, which is a network created by myself (OPCC) in conjunction with Hope for Justice, an anti-trafficking charity.

That network will help train up to 3,500 frontline staff and police officers to know how to detect the signs of someone being trafficked and how to tackle it and support the victims of this horrendous crime.

Now I am proud to be part of the new initiative by West Yorkshire Police to create a new dedicated Human Trafficking Unit (HTU) with the funding I set aside in last year’s budget for this to happen.

The unit will be made up of a dedicated team of detectives, who will work both locally and nationally to target organised crime lords seeking to traffic people into West Yorkshire.

Human Trafficking Team oneIt has been formed as part of a range of initiatives underway in West Yorkshire to combat trafficking, as well as Cyber Crime and CSE which I identified as key issues that needed dealing with in my Police and Crime Plan.

The new Human Trafficking Unit will be led by a dedicated detective inspector and staffed by specialist detectives and investigators who have all received training in investigating human trafficking and related offending.

It is only the second of its kind in England behind the MET police and has been set up as part of West Yorkshire’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) and will use the full range of tactics and techniques used by SOCU to investigate the most complex criminal cases across the piece.

The creation of this dedicated response unit shows how West Yorkshire Police is leading the way in helping victims of human trafficking.

Those being helped by the unit will then be supported by the 3,500 people being trained by the network to put their lives back together and it means victims are subsequently more confident in coming forward to the police.

I have also spoken openly about my support for the Modern Slavery Bill which aims to increase the maximum custodial sentence for offenders from 14 years to life and there is cross party support for action to tackle this issue.

I have heard shocking cases of people being trafficked and forced into a life of misery. This is happening in modern day society and I, along with West Yorkshire Police and partners, will do everything in my power to stop these perpetrators of this vile crime in their tracks.

images1Y84A7BLI have personally pledged to work with fellow Police and Crime Commissioners to tackle these issues and the role of the National Crime Agency is also key for joined up strategic working to deal with these vile crimes.

I want to warn those inflicting this awful practice on others that they will be dealt with severely by the courts as more awareness and support is offered to victims to come forward. There will be no hiding place for those thinking it is acceptable in the 21st century to inflict this kind of abuse on others.

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.

 

Death Row Records founder Marion ‘Suge’ Knight has been charged with murder and is being held on $2 million bail.

untitled (8)Knight turned himself in to authorities on Friday morning after, his attorney James Blatt said, the rap mogul accidentally ran over and killed a friend and injured another man as he fled attackers.

“We are confident that once the investigation is completed, he will be totally exonerated,” Blatt told the Associated Press by phone yesterday evening.

Police reports say a man matching Knight’s description ran over two men with a red pickup truck and then hit them a second time while fleeing the scene, killing Terry Carter, 55, and injuring Cle Sloan, 51.

Knight has a long history of run-ins with the law ranging from assaults to driving violations.

In November, he pleaded not guilty to a robbery charge filed over an incident in which a celebrity photographer accused him of stealing her camera in Beverly Hills. Because of prior convictions, he could face up to 30 years in prison.

Knight with Tupac Shakur
Knight with Tupac Shakur

He has prior felony convictions for armed robbery and assault with a gun. He pleaded no contest in 1995 and was sentenced to five years’ probation for assaulting two rap entertainers at a Hollywood recording studio in 1992.

He also serve timed for probation violations.

Last August, Knight was shot six times at a Los Angeles nightclub. No arrests have been made.

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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.

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