Campaign launched to reduce anti social behaviour

Cllr Sheena Jackson points out a damaged cycle barrier

Problems with anti social behaviour usually increase at this time of year but recently problems have reached new levels.

A cycle barrier at the entrance to the Thanet Road sports are was knocked over last week. Although there were signs of corrosion on part of the barrier, the responsibility has been placed at the feet of vandals. A temporary barrier is being installed this week,.

Elsewhere in the Foxwood area, noisy mopeds and cars trying to do hand break turns on amenity areas have been reported. We would expect that the police – who didn’t attend a residents association meeting yesterday – will be able to deal quickly with vehicle related issues like these.

Anyone spotting anti social behaviour or potential vehicle offences should report them to 101.

NB. The number of Police officers in the area has reduced over recent years. Crime levels are creeping up.

Call for increase in neighbourhood police profile in York

The next York Council meeting will discuss four motions put forward by the political groups represented on the authority.

  • Liberal Democrat Ashley Mason is asking for more funding for neighbourhood policing. He will get a lot of support for his proposal with PCSO patrols now distinctly thin on the ground in much of the City. 41% of respondents to a recent survey thought that policing in the City was “poor”.

Many highlighted issues with drugs and moped gangs as increasing areas of concern.

The York Council has no direct powers over policing policy (that rests with the Harrogate based Police and Crime Commissioner) but it can be more active in using its powers of scrutiny.

The motion also opposes any reduction in Fire cover. The service has recently been taken over by the PCC.

  • A Labour Councillor wants to close the outbound traffic lane which currently runs under Micklegate Bar. The actual amount of traffic using this route is already regulated with “green” periods at the adjacent traffic lights already relatively short. However, the main criticism of this proposal is that it is being made without any consultation with local businesses or residents. Local road junctions are already congested at peak times so the consequences could be significant. The plan comes from the Lendal bridge closure school of transport planning. Proposals like these need to be considered as part of the next update to the Local Transport Plan. (NB. The Council video, outlining plans to improve the railway station frontage, portray an, almost miraculously, traffic free inner ring road in this part of the City!)
  • The Conservative Councillors have gone to the trouble of restating that they are in favour of free green bin emptying. Many residents would settle, currently, for just having their present green bin emptied.
  • ……& finally, the Green party has come out against, what they term as, “food poverty”. It will probably be difficult to find anyone who thinks hunger is a good thing. The Greens disingenuously suggest that Council officials should write a report saying how the issue can be resolved. Sadly, this is another problem where most of the levers are well outside the control of a local Council.

Council meetings these days are sterile and predictable affairs with all sides posturing and the real issues, that affect street level public service standards, rarely being highlighted.

This can party be traced back to a decision by the last Council which withdrew the option for Councillors to submit written questions (and get a written response).

A limited amount of time is reserved for verbal questions, but these rarely uncover any new facts.

Answers to verbal questions are not recorded in the meeting minutes. The minutes are, in any event, published several weeks – or months – later.

By then the issue has usually moved on.

Crime survey started

click to go to survey

The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has started an “on line” survey which she says is aimed at getting residents views about neighbourhood policing.

In some ways this is well timed as the summer period invariably brings a peak in some forms of crime – notably anti-social behaviour.

We have already seen an escalation in complaints about the “mad moped” brigade while environmental crime (e.g. dumping, dog fouling) are still at high levels. However, they are yet to reach the heights seen last year when the police presence was very low.

Since then there has been a gradual and welcome improvement with more patrols by PCSOs evident.

The survey begins by asking about satisfaction with a range of public services. There will be a suspicion that this will be to allow the PCC to say that the quality of policing is more highly rated than, say, road maintenance. The real comparison is with historical performance.

The effectiveness of policing  has never been the same in sub-urban parts of York since anti-social behaviour activities were centralised into a “hub” at West Offices. Almost overnight communication channels between residents and named police officers were broken, losing a valuable channel of information about the causes of crime and those responsible.  The boundaries of the neighbourhood policing units seem to have been in a constant state of flux.

Lists of local officers need to be regularly updated and included on public noticeboards, social media pages etc.

The local activities web page for York South famously is only updated a couple of times a year, although there are many more things going on than are publicised.

The survey fails to probe whether residents have confidence in the criminal justice system in its entirety. Many reported crimes go undetected while courts seem to lack effective powers to deter repeat offences.

The police seem reluctant to publish performance stats at a neighbourhood level. Information is available at https://www.police.uk/ but accessing it is awkward. Residents Associations no longer routinely receive information. Many Neighbourhood Watch organisations have folded in recent years.

We hope that the results of the survey will be published at neighbourhood level.

Police seek help following Cornlands Road assault

North Yorkshire Police is appealing for witnesses and information about an assault that occurred on Cornlands Road in York.

It happened at 10.30am on Thursday 12 April 2018  when the victim, a 32-year-old local woman, was stood at the bus stop.

She was approached by a man on a bicycle who told her to give him a cigarette. He grabbed her by the right forearm and told her to give him her mobile phone.

The First York number 4 bus then arrived and the victim got on. She was uninjured and did not lose any of her property during the incident.

At this time no arrests have been made.

We are requesting the public’s assistance to help establish the full circumstances surrounding the incident.

In particular, we are appealing for information about the identity of the male suspect.

He is described as white, approximately 5ft 6in tall, dark-brown shaggy hair with a bit of a fringe which didn’t reach his eyebrows, skinny build, a gaunt face which shows his cheekbones, dark eyebrows and brown staining on his teeth as if he was a heavy smoker.

He was wearing a white Superdry jacket with blue jeans which had a rip in them, which the victim thinks was on the left knee, and  brown leather-style shoes. He spoke with a local York accent and he was riding a black battered mountain bike.

Anyone with information that could assist the investigation should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 2, and ask for Andrew Copeland. You can also email Andrew.Copeland@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 12180061935.

Contact details:
Leon Dryden – #0090
Andrew.Copeland@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk | 30090
Incident reference:
12180061935

CCTV appeal following theft of clothing from Peacocks in Front Street

Police have released CCTV images of two women they would like to speak to regarding the theft of items from Peacocks clothing store on Front Street in Acomb.

At around 12.05pm on Saturday 10 March 2018 the two women pictured entered the store, one woman was carrying a blue rucksack.

 

A number of items of children and adult clothing were removed from the store, without any offer of payment being made.

Anyone who recognises either of the women pictured is asked to contact PC Emily Clark on 101 or email Emily.Clark@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk

Please quote reference 12180041400.

Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800555111

Appeal for witnesses following an assault in Acomb Front Street

11-15 Front Street

Officers are appealing for witnesses and information following an assault in Acomb which happened in the early hours of yesterday, Friday 29 December 2017.

Police received reports of an altercation involving a number of men and women outside Boyes on Front Street Acomb, shortly before 12.40am.

Upon arrival, officers found five men and four women to be involved in the altercation and an assault had also taken place.

A 23 year old man has sustained injuries after being punched and kicked, and a 33 year old man has sustained an injury to his head and hand.

Two men from York, aged 23 and 33, were arrested in connection with the incident. Both men have been released under investigation while enquiries continue.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or who has any information is asked to contact police. Dial 101, press 2 and ask to speak to York Investigation Hub.

Alternatively, Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Please quote reference number 12170231267 when passing on any information.

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.

Police tax level consultation starts in York

Click to take survey

The Police and Crime Commissioner is asking residents to complete an online survey.

Little background information is provided on the options available which are essentially a freeze (which would cut the police budget in real terms) or a 1.99% increase (the maximum that the government will allow unless a ridiculously expensive referendum is held)

If you opt for a referendum, then you are offered a choice of paying £5 year more, between £5 and £10 and over £10 a year.

There are only limited opportunity on the survey to mention crime concerns although one of the response boxes does allow you to write in that you think your additional contribution should be ringfenced to address, for example, anti-social behaviour issues.