Arson attack on wheelie bin in Acomb

Lane between Gladstone Street and Beaconsfield Street is inaccessible for vehicles

A wheeled bin has been set on fire on a lane at the top of Green Lane, Acomb. The precise cause of the fire is unknown but some refuse has been deposited on the highway.

Steady rain has prevented the spread of any fire today

We have asked the York Council to arrange for an urgent clean up

Crime levels stable in York

Police security marking event tomorrow (Tuesday)

Overall crime levels in York have remained reasonably stable over the last 12 months.

Usually at this time of year – summer holidays – anti social behaviour issues and vandalism show a peak.

It will be a month before the picture becomes entirely clear but early indications are positive.

In the year up to the end of June, anti social behaviour was the most reported crime across the City. This was followed by violence and criminal damage (vandalism) as the next most reported crimes.

It was a similar picture in Westfield

More information is available on the Police UK web site click

Meanwhile on Tuesday the 13th August 2019 the York City Neighbourhood Policing Team will be holding a cycle registration and marking event in partnership with York BID and Street Rangers. The event will take place in the garden area next to Black Horse Passage on Stonebow, York between 1200PM and 1500PM.

“The service is completely free and your cycle will be recorded on the Immobilise database which is a national property register. Once recorded you will have access to your own account on Immobilise.com allowing you to added / remove property and upload photographs of your recorded property.  We will also be using a Dot Peen machine to mark cycles with your post code to add another layer of security”.
“Please come and speak with officers at the event for further information or visit www.immobilise.com

Car jacking in Chapelfields

Appeal to find vital witnesses to attempted car robbery.

Police in York are appealing for witnesses, including two people who came to the aid of a woman when a man threatened her with a knife and ordered her to give him her car.

It happened around Chapelfields Road and Ridgeway in Acomb, York, between 9.45pm and 10.15pm on Thursday 25 July 2019.

The suspect jumped onto the bonnet of the victim’s car when it had stopped at the junction.

The 22-year-old woman driver got out of the car and the suspect pulled out a knife and threatened her, telling her to give him her car or he would tell people she had run him over.

A man driving a silver car came to her assistance and the suspect ran off along Ridgeway towards the direction of St Aiden’s Church.

Although not physically injured, the woman was badly shaken by her ordeal.

Officers are appealing to the man who came to victim’s aid and his woman passenger to come forward as they may have vital information about the suspect.

They would also like to hear from anyone else who was in the area at the time and saw the incident or saw a man running along Ridgeway around the time of the incident.

They would also like to hear from anyone who may have dash-cam footage of the incident or the suspect.

The suspect is described as a white, around 23-30 years old, 5ft, 7in, of skinny build with a thin face, he was clean shaven, had dark eyebrows and spoke with a local accent. He was wearing a black hooded top and dark coloured trousers.

Anyone with information that could assist the investigation should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 2, and ask for Dave Marsden . You can also email David.Marsden@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk

If you wish to remain anonymous, you can pass information to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Please quote the North Yorkshire Police reference number 12190135830.

Covert cameras may be used to identify litter louts in York

The York Council is understood to be testing the use of covert surveillance cameras in a bid to deal with increasing problems with fly tipping, littering and dog fouling.

The latest figures reveal that only 6 people were fined for littering offences in the City during the last financial year.

Even fewer were issued with a ticket for allowing their dogs to foul a public area. Only one was issued last year.

Some snickets in York are littered every day

We understand that a new model of portable CCTV camera is now being piloted.  The camera is fully GDPR compliant

Some ward committees have allocated funding in the past with the intention of providing surveillance for streets subject to anti social behaviour. The plans have never come to anything.

Now it seems that some Councillors are prepare to call time on activities which are costly to clean up and, in the case of dog fouling at least, may be a potential public health risk.

The Council have not provided details of where the trials are taking place or what their priorities might be if the scheme is extended to cover the whole City.

Fixed penalty notices issued in York for littering
Fixed penalty notices in York for dog fouling

Graffiti update in August

The York Council is due to receive an update report on the problem of graffiti in the City when its Executive meets in August.

Graffiti on the Ouse still visible from trains entering and leaving the City

First quarter performance stats will be published by the York Council.

Residents will be looking to see whether the increase in reports of graffiti, evident in March, has continued.

Following recent publicity, the York BID team vowed to tackle the issue in central York, while a couple of weeks ago the Council itself made budgetary provision for a clean up.

Figures on the “open data” web site suggest that around 20% of residents believe graffiti to be a problem in their neighbourhood. The volume of complaints has fluctuated over the last 8 years, but showed a big increase in March.

The Council has not published any recent figures indicating the number of successful prosecutions for graffiti/criminal damage

Trends in graffiti reports in York. Last published figure showed a sharp rise.

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Well done to Cllr Mark Warters who has today challenged the Council on the effectiveness of its weed killing programme. He believes, as do we, that many areas have not been treated by the Councils contractors.

Cllr Warters photo which evidenced the lack of weed killing on public paths

Small things affect a City’s image

There were some raised eyebrows yesterday when the Council announced that £40,000 from a “rates pooling system” would be spent on art initiatives on the Castle car park.  

The project was touted as being integral to the consultations still taking place on the future of the “Castle Gateway” area.

 That is the consultation which started off in an exemplary and inclusive way but which is now disappearing into a mass of self-contradictions and public agonising. 

Projecting artwork images onto Clifford’s Tower will tell us little more than we already know.

So, what could £40,000 buy that might make a bigger, and probably more sustained, difference to the York visitor economy?

The answer may lie in what you see when you look out of a train window when approaching the City. The Minster dominates the skyline but lower down we have a different picture.  We have our fair share of graffiti and weed infested public spaces.

It affects the image of the City and gives an impression of neglect.

The priority given to environmental crime by the Council can be seen in a report that its executive will receive next week. It reviews the successes and failures of the last year.

Littering and dog fouling don’t merit a mention. Prosecutions for those offences are rare

The number of graffiti cases does get a passing mention. There has been a recent upward trend in reports. N

o information is provided on the number of successful prosecutions.

Graffiti reports in York

It seems that people may have stopped reporting issues because the Council refuses to address those that are on “private property”. This includes boundary walls and telecoms junction cabinets. The real impact is probably much greater than the authorities will currently admit.

Some Councillors commendably are taking local initiatives.

In Dringhouses Cllr Stephen Fenton has been out with a graffiti removal kit.

Independent Councillor Mark Warters has called for the owners of street cabinets (companies like Virgin Media) to be more systematic in getting graffiti removed quickly.

The new LibDem administration has promised to reinstate the Street Environment Officer system which worked well during the last decade when dealing with environmental crime issues.

All these initiatives are welcome.

However, an initial clean-up of all graffiti in the City followed by the deployment of camera surveillance to identify any repeat offenders would be a good way to invest any LCR funds which may be available.

Hidden in open view?

We’ll get an idea of the calibre of the newly elected York Councillors this week when they begin to consider how to scrutinise the management performance of the local authority.

A series of updates are being presented.

A typical report is being tabled on housing and community safety issues on 24th June.   

Litter blights some neighbourhoods

What is immediately clear is that no performance indicators have been tabulated (or referenced out). Councillors aren’t being told how long it takes to do things, what any backlogs are, what quality checks are in place or what the levels of public satisfaction are.

Some of the information is available on York Open Data but you have to search for it. Many of the figures are not up to date.

Some major issues are not mentioned at all.  

Empty garages reduce local authority rent income

The housing section fails to even mention empty Council garages, tenants don’t feel they can influence decisions (most tenants organisations have folded) and there are delays on the Housing Estate Improvement programmes.

Similarly on community safety (mainly policing matters) anti-social behaviour in sub-urban areas hardly gets a mention. Trends in drug and alcohol abuse are not quantified. Vandalism, criminal damage, graffiti, all of which disfigure residential areas, are ignored. The trend in the number of prosecutions for this type of offence and similar environmental crimes (litter, dog fouling) is not revealed.

Graffiti scars some streets.

The challenge for new Councillors will be not so much to question the information that has been provided by officials, but more to probe the areas where reports are silent.

Another police appeal this time concerning an incident on Tudor Road

The police have emailed out the following information,

“On Friday 7th JUNE 2019 at around 20:15 hours a 17 year old female had been walking towards the CLOCK HOUSE PUB on TUDOR ROAD when a black van had been driving slowly behind her. The Driver shouted out the window to the female “YOU GOING TO GET IN THE CAR”, she thought this was strange as he was driving a van. As the female looked around the male said “NO YOU”. The female then said “NO”.

The female then crossed the road to go down the alley that leads onto MIDDLETON ROAD and the male pulls the can into her path, gets out of the van. The male then pushes the females left shoulder so the female hits the male round the head with a umbrella and runs towards the pub. The male then did a U turn in his van and drove back up TUDOR ROAD towards GALE LANE

Driver was described as white, around 55 years old, around 5ft 10 and scrawny build. He had spoken with a Yorkshire accent, had a pale complexion and was wearing a clear/ silver round glasses. He had a long white beard, white receding hair line and was wearing a grey coloured t shirt, black comber rain coat, black jeans and black boots.

No VRM was able to be obtained from the vehicle, however van is described as a small tatty black van, looked a little like a camper van with a side door, blacked out windows and the wheels had no alloys on”. 

If you have any information to assist officers please call 101 and quote incident number 12190103997 for the attention of PC 461.

Counter fraud team saves taxpayers £328,275 in York

Counter fraud work by the York Council saved taxpayers over £300,000 in York during the last year.

The figure is revealed in a report which will be considered by a Council committee next week.

The report reveals that it received 345 reports of possible fraudulent activity.

42% of the cases related to fraud in social care. 22% in Council tax/Rates, 18% related to housing fraud and 11 concerned benefit claims.

Officials also investigated the misuse of blue badges for parking. Officials claim that 84% of investigations were successful with two people prosecuted and a further 10 cautioned.

Three false applications for school placements were also halted.

In 2018/19 the team identified over £201,000 of losses to the council, for social care fraud. This was a 19% increase from the previous financial year. Over £137,000 of savings were produced which represents a substantial rise compared to 2017/18 (£38k).

Two people were prosecuted for fraudulently claiming monies, from the York Financial Assistance Scheme, that they did not require.