Demand for more crime details in Calderdale to protect communities

Councillors want more details about crimes in Calderdale
Councillors want more details about crimes in Calderdale

Give us more information about what crimes are happening, where they are happening and what the outcomes are, is the request from councillors to their Community Safety Partnership.

Members of Calderdale Council’s Place Scrutiny Committee were considering the first review provided to them by Calderdale Community Safety Partnership (CSP).

But Coun Bryan Smith (Lab, Ovenden) said he wanted to see more figures rather than a general overview of a scheme in which the council had invested a lot of money.

Councillors needed to understand what staff were doing to improve enforcement and also consider how to promote the partnership’s work more effectively, including communicating outcomes to the public so they knew what it was working on.

“For me, I would like to see more information on what’s going on in Calderdale and the hotspots in Calderdale, whether its drugs in one area or anti-social behaviour in a other,” he said.

Partnership manager Derek Benn said they were fair points – information and outcomes needed to be reported back, and he urged members to alert the partnershiop if they wanted to raise any issues.

“We need to show what is the added value and is it working,” he said.

Coun Amanda Parsons-Hulse (Lib Dem, Warley) agreed: “My residents want to know what we are doing, how we are doing it and what will make a difference.”

Mr Benn said prevention of crime was the aim. “Preventing a crime is easier than dealing with the effect of crime,” he said.

Coun Dave Young said he was disappointed only 27.8 per cent of people surveyed felt the CSP was doing a good job in their area, below the West Yorkshire average, although Calderdale scored highly (83.4 per cent) when asked how safe they felt.

Hate crime awareness was going up, so the numbers would go up, he added.

Coun Sophie Whittaker (Con, Rastrick) asked about dealing with speeding on country roads.

Mr Benn said the partnership had a road safety partnership but limted resources, it needed to be open about that, and accordingly relied on local information. If technological problems with detection equipment because of the winding nature of some such roads arose they needed to be overcome. “We don’t just walk away because it’s a rural location,” he said.

He spoke about Operation Hawmill, which had since November 14 seized 128 vehicles and made 29 arrests, aiming to make two deployments a week to catch drivers breaking the law.

Coun Jenny Lynn (Lab, Park) said there seemed to be no specific mention in the report of the harm done to people and communities by drug dealing.

“I have witnessed the harm done to people who are vulnerable drug users – two deaths in my ward recently,” she said.

Cabinet member for Communities and Neighbourhood Services, said it was an issue raised across the borough with her but at times people hadn’t also reported it to the police.

Mr Benn said the partnership picked up on information out on the streets and what was critical was how the outcomes were fed back to councillors and community.

Coun Lynn asked if the closure of the court in Haifax had had an effect on justice. Mr Benn said it caused incovenience but there was no evidence it was having a negative impact otherwise.

The partnership has five strategic priorities: increasing community confidence and reilience; reducing crime and re-offending; tackling the harm caused by anti-social behaviour; protecting victims and vulnerable individuals; and tackling new and emerging threats to communities and individuals, not least through the rise of social media.

With a focus on problem-solving, developing strategies to protect local communities from crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour, it includes representatives from the council, police, probation service, the health service, social hosuing rovider Together and the voluntary and community sectors.

It recognises a need to change as the scope of qork undertaken by CSPs over the years has expanded to including emerging threats such as terrorism, child sexual exploitation, cyber crime, modern slavery and serious organised crime.