Council funded team reduces anti-social behaviour in town centres

officers in Huddersfield and Dewsbury Town Centres

Since July 2020, Huddersfield and Dewsbury Town Centres have benefited from the additional police presence thanks to a council funded ‘multi-agency enforcement team’.

We committed to funding the team whose visible presence aims to reduce crime, protect the vulnerable and increase residents and visitors satisfaction.

The town centre teams have already had a significant impact in increasing reporting from residents and business owners and providing support for the most vulnerable. Last month the Kirklees Rough Sleepers Initiative reported for the first time that no homeless person was sleeping on the streets of Dewsbury.

Since the teams deployment last summer, the officers have handed out 135 ‘directions to leave the town centres’, which have dramatically reduced the visible anti-social behaviour within both Huddersfield and Dewsbury town centre.

The increased uniformed presence in town centres which the team has provided has increased public confidence and encouraged residents to get in touch, particularly with regards to anti-social behaviour offences.

The Town Centre Team have been working with trading standards and during four successful operations over 100,000 illegal cigarettes have been seized.

Kirklees Council fund five police officers and financially contribute towards a police sergeant’s position who manages the town centre team.

As part of the council’s 10-year Blueprint plan to create thriving, modern-day town centres the addition of the multi-agency town centre team support ongoing policing initiatives to reduce anti-social behaviour and crime in town centres in Huddersfield and Dewsbury.

Councillor Carole Pattison, Cabinet Member for Learning, Aspiration and Communities, said:

“Firstly I would like to thank all the residents, visitors and business owners who have so positively engaged with the town centre teams, it is thanks to your cooperation and belief that we are seeing such positive outcomes.

“The team began last July when lockdown restrictions were being eased and the town centres were starting to unfortunately see an increase in anti-social behaviour and street drinking. Thankfully the team were on the front foot and managed to address these issues instantly.

“Despite the success of the team we must not be complacent. Looking forward we plan to address issues which are important to our residents and businesses. In the coming weeks the focus will be on the night-time economy to coincide with venues re-opening. The team will also be looking to further reduce youth anti-social behaviour in hotspot areas and to address the illegal use of e-scooters.”

Chief Inspector Alan Travis of Kirklees Police, said:

“These substantial reductions in anti-social behaviour in town centres are clearly very welcome, and show what can be achieved through sustained partnership working to tackle issues of concern.

“We fully realise the very tough conditions traders face in our towns and want to do all we can to help them by lowering criminal offending and reducing the kinds of low level offending which can have a negative impact on retail hubs.

“The number of direction to leave orders issued by officers is very much in keeping with the proactive mandate they have been given to nip issues in the bud and tackle repeat problem offenders.”

Jen Donald, Tesco Store Manager, said:

“We have had some great success working with the Town Centre Team. We had some appalling anti-social behaviour in our lower carpark that was very intimidating for the colleagues and customers. Gangs of up to 40 youths breaching Covid restrictions, skate boarding, graffiti and drug taking. Having had to call the police on several occasions, we met up with the team to see how we could tackle this issue together.

“With regular visits from the team, and a planned approach – which we reviewed weekly – we saw the behaviour change. Which gave my colleagues and customers the confidence to use the car park again, without intimidation.  This is the first time I have worked with the team, and am very happy with the sustained results.”