Crime File: Constables rewarded for Special dedication

SPECIAL Constables who volunteered for more than 6,200 hours in one year and encountered a variety of situations to serve the public have been recognised with Exceptional Service Awards.

The nine Special Constables must volunteer for an average of 192 hours each year, with many giving up even more of their free time to uphold the law in local communities.

They work on an entirely voluntary basis within West Yorkshire Police's City and Holbeck Division and were presented with their awards by Acting Supt Vernon Francis.

SC Katherine Keedy, who is part of the Morley Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) and won the City and Holbeck Special Constable of the Year award, put in 537 hours of service.

During that time, Katherine dealt with numerous incidents, including a dangerous dog in Drighlington, a rogue trader who was trying to pressure elderly residents into buying alarms and arresting and calming a violent woman who was potentially a risk to others and herself.

SC Chris Milnes, who worked for almost 900 hours, was presented with a Divisional Commander's Award for his efforts since being promoted last year to Acting Senior Section Officer, meaning he is in charge of his fellow officers.

During his past 12 months with the City NPT, he has established a team dedicated to tackling issues affecting licensed premises.

He also jointly manages a team of Specials who take part in the 'Street Marshals' scheme, which aims to make Leeds city centre even safer for people out and about enjoying themselves at night.

SCs Urszula Gorniseiewicz and Joe Robinson received Awards for Exceptional Service.

Urszula has dedicated a total of 635 hours of her time working alongside the Holbeck NPT and Response officers. Interestingly, Urszula's Polish language skills proved crucial in efforts to track down a Polish man logged on the sex offenders' register so he could be monitored by officers from the Child and Public Protection Unit.

Urszula was also involved in the Cardinals Closer Communities Project, which was aimed at improving the local area, and was also active in assisting members of the public in Beeston during a major gas leak in September last year.

Joe Robinson also logged a total of 874 hours with the City NPT, working every shift of a police officers rota for around three months, along with extended tours.

Others commended included: Neil Battison – 500 hours; Grahame Fisher – 742 hours; Neil Harrison – 951 hours; Mark Hibbert – 534 hours and Paul Lister – 566 hours.

Acting Supt Francis, of the City and Holbeck Division, said: "Special constables share our commitment to making our communities even safer.

"Their dedication in giving up their spare time to work as part of Neighbourhood Policing Teams is an invaluable asset to us, and I would like to thank them for all their efforts."

The force is looking to recruit more Specials in February. For more information, visit the Recruitment pages of the West Yorkshire Police website.

Knife raid witness appeal

POLICE in Leeds are still appealing for information following a knife point robbery at a Co-op store in Leeds.

Two masked men burst into the Co-op store in Oakwood Lane, North Leeds, just before 8pm on Monday and threatened a female member of staff with what has been described as a long-bladed 'butcher type' knife.

After threatening the shop assistant, one of the suspects jumped over the counter and took the till.

It's believed the men fled in a dark-coloured Chrysler PT Cruiser vehicle which was waiting outside the store, with an accomplice acting as the driver.

The vehicle is then thought to have left the area in the direction of the Fearnvilles.

Both suspects are thought to be aged between their late teens to mid twenties with average to stocky builds and around 5ft 10in tall.

They are also both believed to have local accents.

One was described as wearing a dark, teal coloured coat and the other a green jacket. The shop assistant was not injured in the robbery but has been left shocked by the incident.

Call DC Mark Runagall at Stainbeck CID via 0845 60 60 606 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Police watchdogs quiz public

West Yorkshire Police Authority is quizzing the county's residents about their views on the cost of policing.

The authority wants to know if residents feel they get value for money from the force and is using an e-survey to find out which policing activities people see as a priority.

A council tax precept makes up the difference between funding from Central Government and the actual cost of running the Force.

By law, the authority has to set the budget and agree how much to raise local council tax.

The current Band D council tax for policing in West Yorkshire is 130.50 per year. Most people are in Bands A and B and pay 87 and 101.50 respectively.

Authority chairman Coun Mark Burns Williamson said this year's budget will be announced on Friday February 18, adding: "We know there are big financial challenges ahead, but we are committed to maintaining frontline services as far as possible and offering the best value for money we can, whilst ensuring the high standards of policing remain."

To complete the survey, visit the authority's website at Closing date is January 16.