Crime meeting hears residents concerns

Considering the date and location, last night’s meeting to consider policing standards in York attracted a good turnout.

There was little more to report on delays in answering 101 calls although the Police were able to say that on average all non-emergency calls were answered within 90 seconds. Residents were told that a standard 15p (flat rate) fee applied to all 101 calls. There has been a big increase in the numbers of people using the service.

Many residents from the Foxwood and Woodthorpe areas attended the meeting and complained about ongoing anti-social behaviour problems.  A sharp increase in criminal damage incidents had been noted earlier in the year and figures produced for the Westfield Ward (left) showed a steady monthly increase in reports up to the end of October.

The Police explained that they had transferred PCSOs staff into permanent (City Centre) Police officer posts earlier in the year. Many of these had come from sub-urban areas. This might explain why communication links between the Police and Residents Associations stalled in January 2017, and are only now being reinstated.

More recently an increase in police patrols – and the use of social media including twitter (https://twitter.com/NPTYorkSouth) – had been noted. This included a high-profile attempt to take some of the “scooter gangs” off local roads.

Crime distribution in the Westfield ward in October 2017

The performance and transparency of the Safer York partnership was criticised. The Councils web site provides access to the minutes of the organisations last meeting which apparently took place in December 2016 (click). Those attending the public meeting were assured that another meeting had taken place since, although the claimed two monthly frequency was not being achieved (click).

In any event, the Safer York web site is over 2 years out of date and includes a message, urging visitors to help flood victims, prominent on the “what’s on” page!! (https://www.saferyorkpartnership.co.uk/latest-news/)

Nor is the North Yorkshire Police web site much more up to date.  In the neighbourhood’s section they assure residents that the last “event” – property marking – took place last March. There are no events planned for 2018. (click)

Plans to reinvigorate the “Neighbourhood Watch” scheme were announced by Cllr Andrew Waller while most attendees were appreciative of the trouble taken by Cllr Ashley Mason to organise the meeting. Senior police officers present were able to reassure residents that a recovery plan was in place and that the expectations were that policing standards next summer would be higher.

For their part, residents wanted to see more proactive policing with the emphasis being on preventing crime rather than reacting to incidents that had already taken place.

This would mean a sustained improvement in all communication channels and the likely reversal of the trend to centralise resources into the City centre generally and West Offices in particular.

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