Police and Communities Together Meeting (PACT)

(Formerly Police Ward Meeting)

report from Cllr Lesley Jones
of the meeting of 4th August

Friday, 21 August 2009

With many apologies for the late submission of this update.  It is good however to be able to report that the last PACT (Police And Communities Together) meeting attracted a number of new faces who all contributed to a very lively and interesting discussion.  With many thanks to PCSO Ed Webb who held the fort on his own on behalf of the Police as a result of the unavoidable absence of any other officers on this occasion.

Reporting back on the three priorities of the last 6 weeks PCSO Webb gave updates as follows:

  • Continue to concentrate on policing the Nutclough area – affected neighbours confirmed that the situation here had calmed down following the execution of a drugs warrant and a subsequent arrest in May.
  • Follow up the CCTV repair – great disappointment was expressed at the fact that the CCTV had reportedly not been in operation for up to 12 months.  Ward Councillor Janet Battye was to chase the matter up yet again with Calderdale.  Since the meeting – as reported on the HebWeb – a number of the cameras were repaired with the remainder due to be repaired by the 11th of August and confirmation has now been received from HRTC that all the cameras are now working.  There are a couple of issues around trees limiting visibility and these will being looked at as a matter of priority by Calderdale in partnership with the Town Council.

A question was asked around the availability of mobile CCTV facilities and Cllr Battye agreed to raise the possibility of this with Inspector Oldham.

  • Continue to focus on ASB behaviour in and around the town centre and Calder Holmes Park – extra patrols had taken place in the town centre and amounts of alcohol seized from both youngsters and adults.  A question was asked around the supply of alcohol to the youngsters and a suggestion made that surveillance was required but that this had been hampered by the lack of functional CCTV. 

An observation was made by a resident that people of all ages regularly visit Marshalls Bar.  PCSO Webb confirmed that all the pubs in the town are in the Pub Watch scheme and that visits are regularly made.

The police are looking at the possibility of the Neighbourhood Policing Teams being based within one station instead of the three currently (Sowerby Bridge, Hebden Bridge and Todmorden).  There is the possibility of the base moving to Hebden Bridge which would result in more officers being around and about the town at various times of the day meaning an increased police presence could be available quickly on occasions if required.

23 crimes had been reported to the Police over the 6 week period and these covered a full range of offences. At a burglary in Heptonstall a large amount of alcohol which had been on display had been stolen and appropriate advice had been given.  There had been three instances of damage to motor vehicles and one theft of a number plate.

Arrests of note included two for assault plus one following a domestic incident in the town centre.

Two local men have been issued with a £50 fixed penalty notice for street drinking having failed to heed a previous warning.
Other issues raised included:

  • Concern about the fact that when bars with a late licence close at say 2 am. This does not necessarily mean that the town becomes quiet.  On the contrary, it is not unknown for noise and disruption to go on for another hour or so whilst people disperse, open and close taxi doors loudly etc.  It was suggested that a letter be written to the licensing authority asking that this be taken into account when granting future applications.  PCSO Webb confirmed that the Police were always consulted when a new licence application was to be considered.

It was felt that there were difficulties when reporting issues via Wakefield with a lack of local knowledge of initial contacts.  PCSO Webb confirmed that although there was a prioritisation system, all information was relayed back to local officers quickly.  There was also the usual option to call 999 for really urgent incidents – crime in progress etc/accident and emergency etc.

  • The 20 mph limit through the town centre was a hot topic with a strong consensus of opinion being that this was widely ignored and that there was a need for backing from the police in enforcement.  Whilst enforcement was required there was also the recognition of a need to modify driver behaviour.  Inconsiderate driving is seen as a real problem throughout the area and it was felt that the police also needed to take this on board as well as work towards better enforcement of the speed limit in partnership with traffic officers.

A combination of punishment, behaviour modification and engineering solutions were seen as the tools with which this could be tackled.  One engineering suggestion was the creation of gateways at each end of the town.   It was felt that there was a need for a co-ordinated approach across the whole area and involving the Police and Calderdale MBC Highways department.  Cllr Battye agreed to take the matter to the Hebden Bridge Partnership with a view to asking for the issue to be flagged up to the Police Authority on behalf of the Partnership.

This prompted a comment about the seemingly excessive use of sirens when emergency vehicles are travelling down the valley which seems to have increased lately.  One reason for this is the use of responder vehicles that are sent to an accident/emergency in advance of an ambulance as these are less likely to get held up by traffic.  The ambulance will then follow on behind, potentially also using the siren.  Whilst the topography of the area does not help with this perception the meeting asked for the issue to be flagged up to the relevant authorities.

PC Martin Langan will be asked for an update on the position re the suggested provision of signs to deter off road motor cyclists at Mount Skip as he is dealing with this matter.

Praise was given to the work of the Street Angels and thanks expressed to the volunteers who gave up their time in order to operate this initiative.  The increased police presence on park as also positively noted and appreciated.

Three priorities set for the next 6 weeks were:

  • Police and partners to continue the high profile operation in the town centre and Calder Holmes Park in order to maintain focus on ASB/under age drinking issues.  Marshalls Bar to be monitored.
  • More effective enforcement of the 20 mph speed limit through the town centre together with a focus on the use of mobile phones by drivers whilst at the wheel
  • Continue focus on managing and reducing incidents of anti social behaviour in the Old Town area.

The next meeting will be held in the Committee Room at the Council Offices on Tuesday, 15th September at 6:30 pm.  As usual, everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend.  Please come along and join the increasing number of local residents who are working with the police in setting regular priorities to help ensure the town is a pleasant, safe area in which to live and work.

See also:

Hebweb News: community meeting with local police (June 09)

Hebweb News: community meeting with local police (May 09)

Hebweb News: community meeting with local police (April 09)

HB neighbourhood police page

Hebweb News: Sharp fall in Hebden Bridge crime rate (Jan 09)

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