Recent Activities by the Safer Dewsbury team
Safer Dewsbury is a multi-agency team created by the council at the launch of the Dewsbury Blueprint in February 2019.
Among lots of other work in the background the team has been using Days of Action to address the public's perceptions of Dewsbury town centre. The main issues addressed began as crime and anti-social behaviour. More recently this has extended to include more robust enforcement of standards expected in all aspects of life particularly regarding compliance with regulations by landlords and employers.
The following report was made recently to the Safer Dewsbury team.
Town Centre Days of Action
Days of Action are days when representatives of all agencies visit the town to carry out inspections and monitoring. With all agencies present problems can be quickly referred to the correct agency and enforcement action taken.
Between October 2021 and February 2022, six Days of Action have been held. The Safer Dewsbury and police led operation provides a high visibility presence within the Town Centre of Dewsbury, to prevent and deter crime and to take positive action, to make the community not only be safe but also feel safe,
Partners involved include West Yorkshire Police, Safer Kirklees, West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (WYFRS), British Gas, Greenspace, Licensing, Gangmasters, Rough Sleepers Initiative and others.
Visiting properties, mainly occupied by Eastern European tenants, which were found to have inadequate escape routes, ventilation, interlinked fire alarms or smoke alarms. Several also had expired Homes of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) licenses and other concerns. Our Private Sector Housing Team and WYFRS are now all addressing these matters with the landlords involved.
The British Gas compliance team found a tampered meter at a flat. The meter has now been exchanged.
Licencing discovered and seized a significant amount of illegal tobacco from a business in the town centre.
Greenspace have carried out a significant litter pick and clear-up of flytipped areas
Employment conditions checked
The team acted upon intelligence relating to Eastern Europeans were being picked up and taken to factories where they were made to work in unfit conditions. The vehicle was stopped and all passengers were spoken to and all necessary checks were completed,
Hope for Justice and the Gangmaster Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) engaged with them and conducted a follow up visit to their place of work, where we found unsafe working conditions due to fire doors being locked from the outside and evidence that people had been smoking within the bed factory.
We organised a follow up visit by the Fire Service to their employment at a bed factory in Batley and the owner/employer had rectified the issues found during the first visit. GLAA have referred their findings to the Criminal Justice Inspectorates (HMIC).
Discussions were held with a group of Romanian nationals who gather awaiting transport to their employment on building sites, Full checks were carried out and no discrepancies found.
Monitoring was set up with the local PCSO’s and Community Engagement & Support Officers (CESOs) on a property previously used as a cannabis grow and links have also been made with neighbouring businesses. This led to further intelligence regarding a new cannabis grow and this is being monitored.
Taxi licensing and VDSA operation
West Yorkshire Police (WYP) with the Vehicle Driver Standards Authority (VDSA) have completed an operation to monitor town centre taxis and plan further inspections in the future. Of the taxis inspected, only 50% were fully compliant and road-worthy, These inspections were extended to include takeaway delivery vehicles which were found to have similar levels of defects.
Anti Social Behaviour - Dewsbury Bus Station
During the last Day of Action, Safer Dewsbury, WYP and the detached Youth Team visited the bus station due to reports of persistent youth-related anti-social behaviour.
Drivers, staff and passengers reported feeling threatened and intimidated by large groups of youths on most evenings. A number of actions were agreed by partners
- Continue Problem Solving Investigation at key times to dissuade ASB and identify nominals.
- Investigation of criminal reports linked to Bus Station/Arriva Buses
- Deployment of Arriva Trojan bus with plain clothes officers.
- Arriva/Metro to provide CCTV of incidents/nominals to police.
- Identified offenders to be referred for potential ASB/tenancy action.
- Safer Kirklees CESOs to visit Bus Station regularly to speak to security staff/drivers/cleaners etc to gather intelligence and refer through police portal.
- Detached Youth Team to visit Bus Station four times per week to engage with young people.
Since the meeting a number of outcomes have been achieved;
- Several arrests linked to the bus station have been made with bail conditions forbidding the offender to enter the bus station.
- Approximately 25 Acceptable Behaviour Orders have been given to key individuals
- Banning Orders for all of the above are being considered by bus station management.
- Tenancy warnings are being issued to all the above in Local Authority Housing.
It is recognised that problems still persist at the station, though with a number of arrests and 25 Behaviour Orders issued the team has had a positive impact to reduce the nuisance. Combined action will continue until the issue is resolved.
Much of the progress made by the Safer Dewsbury team is the result of information received from the public and local businesses who are encouraged to continue to report incidents and provide intelligence.