THE way different organisations patrol housing estates in West Yorkshire needs to be less patchy to beat the menace of crime, it is claimed.

A study into the way different organisations now try to tackle vandalism and anti-social behaviour shows mixed success throughout the county.

The charity the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which seeks solutions to social problems, says many organisations are now involved, ranging from the police and community support officers through to private security guards and neighbourhood wardens.

But the foundation says its research shows the roles of the different groups are often unclear, leaving the public confused about their responsibilities and what can be expected of them in tackling crime.

The charity says regional policing boards need to be set up to provide a more co-ordinated approach.

The study - led by Prof Adam Crawford of Leeds University, concludes: "These new boards could play a major role enhancing community safety efforts and encouraging best practice."

He added: "The division of tasks between the different types of policing patrol tended to be poorly organised.

"Relations between the providers varied from effective co-operation and co-ordination to indifference, competition and hostility.

"Some police officers still felt that they alone should provide patrols and that patrolling by others was a hindrance rather than a help."

But he added: "All the initiatives under the study highlighted the importance of engaging with local residents, exploiting their knowledge of local crime problems and providing them with a stake in the success of community policing efforts.

"Greater mutual understanding and trust are essential if the local delivery of community policing by different providers with different roles and powers is to become a joined-up endeavour.

"There is an urgent need for better local liaison."