Trial changes to reduce the number of vehicles using footstreets in York

Following advice from North Yorkshire Police, City of York Council is putting measures in place to improve public safety across the city centre where there are a large number of pedestrians.

Following a decision by the Executive in February, the council commissioned independent security experts to develop a plan for long-term measures to combat the ongoing threat of ‘vehicle weapon attacks’ like those seen recently in Toronto, London and Nice.

A trial of the measures to reduce the number of vehicles in the city’s main footstreet area will take place before permanent measures are installed in the coming months.

The trial will include ending vehicle access to St Sampson’s Square during foot street hours (10.30am-5pm, seven days a week) by using an experimental traffic regulation order (ETRO).

The current restrictions will also be enforced along Coney Street with the introduction of bollards at the northern end of the street, close to the Mansion House.

After this initial trial, a wider consultation on the city centre will be commissioned by the Council and will provide an opportunity for everyone in the city to share their views on access to the city centre. (more…)

Couple sentenced for Blue Badge fraud in York

6 caught short fined

An investigation carried out by City of York Council has uncovered and successfully prosecuted a case of disabled Blue Badge fraud.

On 23 October, York Magistrates sentenced a couple from Malton to a 12-month conditional discharge each and ordered each to pay £200 in costs and £20 in surcharges.

David Wade (age 54 of Howe Court, Norton, Malton) was found using a family member’s blue badge for his own benefit in York city centre in April 2018, and later provided false information to the council on the matter. Marie Wade, (aged 51 of Howe Court) was found to have provided false information to the council regarding her husband’s actions.

An investigation into the misuse was conducted by Veritau, the council’s fraud investigation service. A Blue Badge can only be used when the badge holder is present or being picked up or dropped off at the point where the car is parked displaying the badge.

In April 2018, a council Civil Enforcement Officer encountered Mr Wade using a blue badge in central York. Mr Wade claimed he was picking up the badge holder and his wife who were nearby. However, he drove away after he was issued with a Penalty Charge Notice.

Later that day Mrs Wade called the council to complain that her husband had been parked waiting to pick up her and the badge holder who were now both left behind in York. Several weeks later the husband and wife submitted paperwork which repeated this allegation in an attempt to cancel the parking fine.

During Veritau’s investigation Mr Wade admitted that his wife and the badge holder were not in York when he displayed the badge and that at the time Mrs Wade was at their home in Malton. He told investigators that he wanted to visit the city centre during his lunch hour and to save time, drove in and displayed the badge. Mrs Wade admitted to investigators that she made the phone call to the council because she was worried about the consequences, should her husband’s actions be investigated further.

Mr and Mrs Wade pleaded guilty to all charges at York Magistrates’ Court on 23 October 2018.

Anyone with any information on fraudulent activity should please phone the fraud hotline on 0800 9179 247 or email fraud@york.gov.uk .

Magistrates sentence six for urinating in public

York magistrates have sentenced six people for urinating in public with a fine of £2541, following City of York Council and North Yorkshire Police action against alcohol-related anti-social behaviour.

James Benjamin Moore (aged 27 of Woolnough Avenue, York) was sentenced yesterday (23 October) at York Magistrates Court for urinating against the wall next to a taxi rank in St Saviourgate York at 03:50hrs on Friday 20 July 2018. Mr Moore was noticeably intoxicated and continued to urinate despite noticing a police officer’s presence, when he then became increasingly aggressive when the officer asked for his name. Mr Moore pleaded guilty and was given a total sentence of  £447.

Jonathon Roy Alderson (aged 37 of Roebuck Ridge, Barnsley) pleaded guilty after urinating against private property near York Racecourse at 19:30 on the evening of Saturday 28 July 2018. Mr Alderson, who apologised upon seeing the police officer, pleaded guilty to urinating in public and was given a total sentence of £478.

On 23 October 2018, the court heard that Ellis Alex Parker (aged 32 years of Horsforth, Leeds) was found by police officers at 19:45 hours, Saturday 28 July 2018, urinating against a wall near Albermarle Road, York. When approached by the officer, Mr Parker became aggressive and began swearing and initially refused to give any personal details. Mr Parker pleaded guilty by post and York Magistrates ordered him to pay a total of £460.

The court heard that Harry Edward Murphy (aged 18 of Stammergate, Ripon) and Owen Taylor Abbott (aged 18 years of Clotherholme Road, Ripon) were seen by a PCSO urinating against the shutters of Thomas Cook, Clifford Street, York in the late hours of Wednesday 15 August 2018. When approached, one of the males was apologetic for the offence, for which they were both cautioned and reported for summons. Both defendants pleaded guilty at York Magistrates court, Mr Murphy sentenced to pay £380 while Mr Abbott was sentenced to pay £409.

York Magistrates also heard a guilty plea from Tyler Anne Mathias (aged 23 of Richmond Drive, Goole) for urinating next to St Chad’s Church on Campleshon Road, York. Ms Mathias was visibly intoxicated when approached by the officer at 18:00 hours Saturday 25 August 2018, where she was no further than 200 hundred metres from toilet facilities at the racecourse. In mitigation, she said that she had been suffering from a water infection at the time and had to sprint across the road. Ms Mathias was sentenced to pay £367.

“I’m grateful to our partners North Yorkshire Police and the court for supporting our enforcement action. We will continue to prosecute individuals displaying alcohol-related anti-social behaviour in the city.”

Crime in North Yorkshire up by 9%

The increase is revealed in a Office of National Statistics’ (ONS) “Crime in England and Wales, year ending June 2018” bulletin

It shows there were a total of 40,782 crimes in North Yorkshire during the 12-month period, giving a crime rate of 49.7 per 1,000 of the population.

This 9% local increase is below the national average crime increase of 10%.

Broken down into the main crime categories, the ONS figures for North Yorkshire show:

  • Burglary decreased by 1% (3,658 crimes in total, of which 2,235 are recorded as domestic burglaries and 1,423 non-domestic burglaries)
  • Drug offences increased by 6% (1,592 crimes in total)
  • Violence and against the person increased by 20% (11,811 crimes in total), which is broken down into Violence with Injury (5,112 crimes in total, a 10% increase); Violence without Injury category (4,821 crimes in total, a 22% increase); Harassment and Stalking (1,849 crimes in total, a 47% increase)
  • Possession of weapons offences up by 22% (247 crimes in total)
  • Robbery increased by 14% (183 crimes in total)
  • Theft offences increased by 4% (16,822 crimes in total)
  • Theft from the person down by 1% (444 crimes in total)
  • Bicycle theft reduced by 12% (1,095 crimes in total)
  • Shoplifting increased by 11% (4,686 crimes in total)
  • All other theft offences up by 2% (4,466 crimes in total)
  • Criminal damage and arson up by 3% (5,934 crimes in total)
  • Vehicle Offences were up 15% with 2,473 crimes in total
  • Sexual offences increased by 13% (1,649 crimes in total). As previously highlighted, this rise is regarded as a reflection of the confidence victims have in North Yorkshire Police, particularly those making historical complaints in the wake of high profile historical sexual abuse cases, plus support from dedicated facilities for victims of sexual assault
  • Public order offences up by 18% (1,774 crimes in total)
  • Miscellaneous crimes against society, which includes the possession and publication of extreme sexual images, fell by 2% with 743 crimes in total

Chief Constable Lisa Winward said: “Today’s figures show North Yorkshire remains the lowest crime area in England and Wales. There has been an increase in recorded offences, but this is also slightly lower than the national average.

Feeling safer? Tell it to Rod

Safer York web site is still out of date

The York Council is reviewing the effectiveness of its “Safer York” partner at a meeting next week. A biannual report has been tabled

Anyone wondering what the safer York Partnership does will no doubt head for the Councils web site., It has a page with 8 lines devoted to the organisation https://www.york.gov.uk/info/20152/community_safety/1361/safer_york_partnership

The web site provides a hot link to the partnerships own web site.  http://www.saferyorkpartnership.co.uk/

Anyone following this link may be disappointed to find that the site hasn’t been updated for 2 years!

So, back to the report on its activities.

Councillors will be told that “due to changes in the way police data is supplied to local authorities and the introduction of tighter data access control, CYC no longer routinely receives data recorded by the Police”!

Key priorities are identified as

  • Road & River Safety
  • Keeping the City Centre
  • Protecting People from Harm
  • Tackling Anti-social Behaviour
  • Serious Organised Crime
  • Tackling Substance Misuse Public Health

The report does, however, go on to report some good news.

Our surveys reveal that anti-social behaviour remains one of the key concerns with the rise of the “moped gang” spotlighted by many respondents.

The SYP report concentrates on the York city centre. It says, “Although there remains a perception that alcohol related anti-social behaviour has increased, there was a 14% reduction between 2016 and 2017 and an 11% reduction between 2017 and 2018. Much of the behaviour which is highlighted in media reports is low level nuisance rather than criminal and this is addressed through high visibility patrols by the police, BID Rangers and CYC Neighbourhood Enforcement Team”.

The report says, “There has been an increase in the number of needles found in public areas within the city centre”.

One unexpected note of caution is sounded, on the subject of buskers.

“The Neighbourhood Enforcement team have planned Saturday afternoon joint patrols with Make It York with the purpose of engaging with all buskers in the city centre and to ask them not to hand their microphones to members of the public.

All buskers will be provided with a laminated card they can show the public which states that they are not permitted by CYC or MIY to hand over their microphone in the interest of reducing noise nuisance and ASB”.

Unfortunately the crime stats reported  are not up to date

York Police spread the word about illegal motorcycles as action to target nuisance riders brings “significant results”

Officers at North Yorkshire Police will be working with schools, colleges, motorcycle dealers and instructors to cut down on the number of illegal and nuisance motorbike riders on our roads.

They are trying to reach younger riders to educate them about how to stay safe and legal – and warn them of the consequences if they break the law.

It’s part of Operation Confiscate, which was launched in response to residents’ complaints about antisocial motorcycle riders in York.

Residents are urged to help police crack down on nuisance riders by reporting offences on 101 or by emailing snayorknorth@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk

If possible, please take details of the registration, make or model, colour or a description of the rider or the helmet they are wearing. Information will be passed on to North Yorkshire Police’s Roads Policing Group so offenders can be tracked down and dealt with.

Police Community Support Officers will be visiting the locations to hand out information and talk to riders and other members of the community about how they can help police tackle the issue.

Officers are also carrying out regular enforcement patrols with off-road police motorbikes. They are using information supplied by the public and are targeting hotspots. These currently include the suburbs of Clifton, Fulford and Heworth.

In the last month alone, a number of motorbikes and scooters have been stopped by police in York, including:

  • A motorbike that was seized in Huntington for being uninsured and ridden while it was declared off the road (SORN)
  • A scooter rider who had no tax or MOT. The rider was reported and the scooter has been seized
  • A motorbike rider who has been given a Section 59 warning notice for antisocial riding
  • A scooter rider who has been reported for having no MOT and incorrectly displaying a front L plate
  • A scooter rider who is due to be interviewed on suspicion of having no licence or insurance after a police stop in Clifton

York North PCSO Harl Pattison, who is working on Operation Confiscate, said: “As the operation continues,  we’re seeing some significant results. These results are making a real difference to residents’ quality of life and making their communities safer.

“But we want to prevent illegal riding happening in the first place. So we’re doing more and more work to reach young riders and influence the way they ride.

“By working with other people in the community, we’re spreading the word that riding antisocially or without tax, insurance, an MOT or a  licence is foolish and it won’t be tolerated.

“We’re enforcing the law too, and in the last month alone we’ve been sending riders to court, handing out official warnings or seizing motorcycles. We’re showing riders that the stakes are high, so chancing it could cost them dearly.”

Police are being supported by partner agencies such as the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency who can carry out roadside checks and make sure the vehicles are roadworthy. If not, prohibitions notices to remove the vehicle from the road can be issued.

North Yorkshire Police is reminding riders to check the following before taking to the road:
(more…)

York cyclists urged to “switch on to road safety” as nights get longer

Cyclists in York are being warned they will be fined if they fail to use bike lights.

As the nights draw in, North Yorkshire Police is launching enforcement patrols across the city to encourage cyclists to “switch on” to road safety.

They will issue Traffic Offence Reports, which carry a £50 penalty, to those riding on pedestrian-only pavements or not using lights when it’s dark.

York Neighbourhood Policing Inspector Lee Pointon said: “As a major cycling city, it’s important that we make sure cyclists in York are safe and legal.

“Cyclists are vulnerable road users. But they also have a responsibility to ride legally and ensure they are seen. So if you ride a bike you must make sure you’re switched on when it comes to road safety.

“The cost of a set of lights is significantly less than the cost of a fine.

“And sometimes the cost is more than just financial – our officers have to knock on doors after cyclists are badly hurt or killed and break that devastating news to their families.

“If you saw what we see, you’d know it’s not worth risking it – you’d ride safely and be seen.”

Cyclists should take the following steps to stay safe:

  • Always use an approved set of front and rear bike lights. You can be fined if you don’t.
  • Switch them on from twilight – as soon as the light starts to drop
  • Check them regularly to see if you need to change the batteries or recharge them
  • Always use designated cycle paths or roads. Keep off pedestrian-only paths or face a fine
  • Wear highly-visible clothing, preferably light-reflective gear
  • Remember that even when you’re well lit you’re less visible at night than during the day, so always pay attention to your surroundings

The patrols will start on Monday and will run throughout autumn and winter.

Only 5 fined for dog fouling offences in York

Notices put up to deter dog fouling

Only five people were fined during the last year for allowing their dog to foul public places in the City.

The figures are revealed in a new report which lists the enforcement action taken during 2017/18 by the York

Council on a wide range of offences

Recent surveys have revealed that dog fouling remains a major concern for residents living in some neighbourhoods.

More fines were actually issued in the City centre to men found urinating in public than were handed out for dog fouling

The report does however highlight several success for enforcement teams.

  • 64 years imprisonment (5 years suspended)
  • £21k in fines
  • 1060 hours of unpaid work
  • £311k in compensation for victims
  • £3.3m in proceeds of crime confiscation orders
  • £98k in costs awards

The bulk of these relate to fraud and “Ecrime” activities.

In addition various actions were taken on housing issues while 10 neighbourhood enforcement officers dealt with reports of anti social behaviour, fly-posting, littering and similar offences.