Police and Communities Together Meeting (PACT)

report from Cllr Lesley Jones
of the meeting of 15th September

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

With thanks as usual to all those members of the Community who came to the latest meeting chaired by Sgt Chris Norbury in the Committee Room at theTown Hall.

Sgt Norbury gave his update on progress with the priorities that had been set at the previous meeting in August as follows:

Vehicles exceeding the 20mph speed limit through the town centre

  • The Police now have access to a speed gun which is a shared resource with the officers in Todmorden.  This has been deployed on Keighley Road and in the town centre.  The results had been very dependent on the time of day but quite a number of tickets had been issued.  In addition the Road Traffic and motorcycle units had been deployed in and around the town.  There was a comment made that the high visibility of these units means that drivers slow down but it was accepted that the aim was to provide a deterrent and not raise revenue.  However, the meeting felt that when the deterrent was not there driver behaviour did not change.  It was pointed out that the problems with speeding are not limited to Hebden Bridge – it is a national issue and unfortunately it can’t be policed 24 hours a day.  However, everyone agreed that there was a need to keep up the pressure and the awareness campaigns.  Speeding is in fact a form of anti social behaviour.

Anti Social Behaviour in and around the town centre/Calder Holmes Park

  • High visibility foot patrols have been and will continue to be deployed, particularly on Friday and Saturday evenings in the town centre and on the park.  These had been well supported by the Street Angels.  There is also a new van in operation which has CCTV facilities on board.
  • Vast amounts of alcohol had been seized from both adults and youngsters.  Plain clothes officers have been targeting off-licences.  It was very good to note that stores or supermarkets in Hebden Bridge have never failed any of these undercover operations.  In addition joint visits had been made by the Police and the Licensing authorities.  In answer to a question Sgt Norbury said that all information suggested that alcohol in the possession of youngsters had been obtained from the home.
  • A number of arrests had been made in the park – two for drunk and disorderly behaviour, one for criminal damage and one for a drugs offence.  On Fridays there is always an officer and a PCSO on foot around the town.

Over the previous month 44 crimes have been reported which is a slight increase on last month but it is important to note that the area covered is quite large and includes outlying villages such as Heptonstall, Blackshaw Head and Old Town.

There has been a spate of pedal cycle thefts.  These appear to be opportunist and that the bikes are being stolen for sale.  No single area has been targetted and different types of cycles have been stolen at various times with no concentration around a particular place or date.  The indications are that a local person is involved.  In addition there has been a spate of shed/outhouse break-ins with 1 reported at Widdop and 4 in Heptonstall and Wadsworth.  A 23year old from Rochdale has been arrested.  The cycle thefts and the shed break-ins have contributed significantly to the increase in number of crime reports this month.

There have been two domestic break-ins.  One where the householder was away on holiday and a high value VW Golf was stolen which has not yet been recovered.  Sgt Norbury advised that there is a facility available at the Police Station where householders can register details of their absence from home and once the Police are aware, passing visits can be made which can act as a deterrent.  The second report was of a sneak in burglary at a house in Pecket Well and a reminder was made that it is important, particularly in warmer weather, to ensure that windows and doors are kept locked, even while the house is occupied.

There have been 3 car thefts.  There are indications that these have been picked up by a transporter – they were all older cars and anyone seeing them being loaded onto a wagon could easily assume that they had broken down and were being taken away for repair.  There had been two thefts from motor vehicles at Hardcastle Craggs.  Sgt Norbury stressed the importance of leaving nothing on show when leaving a car unattended.

There have been only 4 instances of criminal damage and 2 arrests have been made.  One was for damage to the mosaic under the steps in the park and the other was at Dodnaze.

Finally there have been 4 domestic incidents with 4 arrests made and 2 pro-active arrests during stop and search on the park.

Other activities over the period included:-

  • The DVLA had clamped 8 vehicles for non display of a valid tax disc.
  • On the 11th September the Licensing Officer from Calderdale had visited pubs/restaurants.  These visits will continue.
  • Work is ongoing to target a couple of known individuals with a history of anti social behaviour issues.  One of these had now been referred to the Early Intervention Panel.

It was suggested that a report could be put in the Hebden Bridge Times highlighting the work of the local Police team to publicise the fact that speeding tickets can be, and are, a consequence of infringing the speed limit in Hebden Bridge.  It would also be possible to highlight the dangers of leaving alcohol available in the home where it could be a temptation to teenagers.  There are still youngsters out there who are very young – an ambulance was called at the beginning of the summer to a 14 year old who had become ill as a result of drinking alcohol. 

Sgt Norbury talked about difficulties that can arise following arrests.  Although officers patrol the park daily, if an arrest is made the officer then has to go to Halifax to deal with the arrest, resulting in a shortage of available manpower until such time as the officer returns.

One or two people commented that sometimes it did seem as if groups of youngsters were allowed to gather with no action taken by the Police and asked about the appropriateness of dialling 999.  If no crime is being committed nor any threatening behaviour observed it is not always going to need intervention from the Police but Sgt Norbury encouraged anyone to report any large gathering of older people where obviously younger children were present.

Issues with parking on pavements were discussed next.  Whether or not it constitutes an obstruction depends on whether or not there is still room for safe passage – particularly with regard to wheelchairs or pushchairs.  There is some demolition ongoing on Victoria Road where there are screens both on the footpath and in the road that look unsafe.  Sgt Norbury suggested that this needed to be reported to Calderdale Highways for advice. 

It was agreed to continue to maintain focus on the same 2 priorities for the coming month as in the previous month.

With thanks to the members of the public who came along to the meeting and to Sgt Norbury for providing all the information and for chairing the meeting. 

As usual I would encourage attendance at the next meeting and we look forward to seeing as many of you as possible – 27th October at 6:30 (Committee Room at the Town Hall)

All members of the community, younger people and teenagers especially, are very welcome to attend these meetings.

See also:

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

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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