PART of Kirklees will be at the centre of a massive clampdown against antisocial behaviour and a determined bid to give bored youngsters something to do.
Police are teaming up with several other organisations to target troublemakers in the Dewsbury, Batley and Mirfield areas.
But the dual aim is to make sure activities are up and running to divert them – and others who do behave – from the temptation to get involved in crime.
Batley Police Station will be the hub of the ‘Antisocial Behaviour Challenge’ with more than 20 organisations joining together under one roof for the first time.
It is being launched today by Kirklees police commander Chief Supt Barry South, who said: “There have been various incidents over recent months which have caused both the council Cabinet and myself concern. These concerns have quite rightly been underlined within our communities and within the press.
“The community has set the police and our partners a challenge to do something about these problems and we will not shy away from this challenge. This is about taking it personally when it is on your patch.
“The summer holidays are notoriously a period when we see antisocial behaviour rise as young people find themselves with nothing to do. This project is therefore primarily about opening up opportunities for diversion.
“There are already lots of activities ongoing with partner agencies such as Young People’s Services. It is about guiding the young people to these services and in doing so giving them something to do and a place to go.”
He said the big difference with this project is that all the services will be working from the same site, making it easy to talk to one another and co-ordinate activities.
Chief Supt South added: “Every day we will be analysing what we can do, how we can do it and what has already happened. Agencies involved will subsequently get to know who is causing the problems and how we can all work together positively to resolve them.
“It will be very beneficial to the police and their partners as they will be able to speak face-to-face in one room, creating a stronger relationship and, ultimately, a more effective service. They will also be able to hear and see what is going on through every part of the project with the capability to step in when their particular agency can help.”
Up to 30 police officers will be working on the project every day from CID, the Operational Support Unit, local Neighbourhood Policing Teams and 999 response teams.
Clr Khizar Iqbal, Kirklees Council's Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Safer and Stronger Communities said: “Agencies will be working together to tackle and prevent antisocial behaviour over the summer to make communities safer. Tough enforcement action will be taken against anyone persistently causing problems.”
Council leader Robert Light added: “From the enforcement perspective I hope to see sharing of information across partners and the targeting of those who are causing disruption to the communities they live in. It is here where our partners can then play a key role in providing the right measures to take them away from further offending.
“In terms of reassurance, we will be speaking to members of the community and dealing with some of the perceptions which people can often form.”
Chief Supt South believes that reassurance and recognition are key to the project.
“Not all young people are out in the neighbourhoods causing problems and this too has to be recognised,’’ he said.
“Reports of antisocial behaviour from members of the public about children playing football in the park is an also an example of how we need to change perceptions. This is not antisocial behaviour and we will be working together in allaying the fears of residents.
“We need to open up opportunities of diversion and this project will enable us to do that. There are already lots of activities ongoing which we simply need to use to a greater degree through working more closely together.”
The project will be fully assessed at the end of the summer to find out how successful it has been.