Crime File: Police to continue with rough sleeper 'sweeps'

A POLICE operation to move rough sleepers out of Leeds city centre is continuing in the run-up to Christmas as temperatures plummet.

The City Neighbourhood Policing Team PT, Leeds City Council's Street Outreach Team, and Safer Leeds, have been working together since the summer to carry out patrols known as 'rough sleeper sweeps'.

In August, police said as many as 50 people may have been sleeping rough on Leeds's streets.

But three months on, the once daily patrols have been reduced to every other day and no-one has been found sleeping rough on the last three patrols.

Rough sleeping haunts are visited by police at 6am and anyone found sleeping rough is first given a caution under the Vagrancy Act and referred to the Street Outreach Team for help to find supported accommodation.

If found sleeping rough again, they are arrested and prosecuted, with the Street Outreach Team continuing to offer support to them to find accommodation.

Temporary

Chf Insp Vernon Francis said: "Rough sleepers are a serious issue in the city centre, not just because they cause antisocial behaviour but also because these people need help to turn their lives around.

"Moving them on is only a temporary solution which is why we're committed to working with partners to help find them a home, particularly in the run-up to Christmas when temperatures regularly drop below freezing.

"By helping them find permanent accommodation, we're putting a stop to the antisocial behaviour problems and helping them get their lives back on track."

Over the last three months 28 people have received warnings for sleeping rough, and of these 13 were arrested after being found sleeping rough for a second time.

Chf Insp Francis added: "We've taken action after listening to the concerns of residents and businesses, and we're keen to hear if any rough sleepers return to the city."

Police have released a short video of efforts to move rough sleepers and find them a home before Christmas. Go to www.westyorkshirepolice.uk.

Student Union 'window' sheds new light on burglary threat

POLICE in Leeds have created a new 'window of opportunity' to help educate students about burglary.

A window unit adorned with tempting chocolate treats was put on display in Leeds University Union and passing students who stopped to pick up a sweet were warned about leaving their homes insecure or valuables on show.

The idea was the brainchild of University of Leeds student Greg Ellis who spent the summer working on crime prevention initiatives with Safer Leeds, the city's crime and disorder reduction partnership.

Sgt Rick Wilson, of the North West Inner Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: "We are constantly looking for new ways to engage with students and get them to take simple crime

prevention measures to protect their homes and their property."

Explore your local policing

BUDDING crime-fighters need to act fast to get a chance to experience the inner workings of West Yorkshire Police.

Deadline for applications is tomorrow for the 2011 Explorer Programme, which will see 16 to 18-year-olds gaining an exciting insight into different aspects of policing in the county.

The 20-week programme, which starts next February, will enable successful candidates to explore the work of Neighbourhood Policing, Operations Support, Forensics, Homicide and Major Enquiry, Roads Policing and Crime Prevention to name but a few.

Explorers will attend their local police station for two hours each week where they will take part in an interactive programme. They will also be given the opportunity to volunteer within the Force and in their local community.

Project Officer Chloe Dummer said: "Many young people at this stage in their life are unsure about what career path they would like to take but the Explorer Programme offers a behind-the-scenes look into 21st Century policing and helps develop the skills that young people will require in later life."

Applications are available for download from www.westyorkshire.police.uk/explorers or call 01924 292 904.

Long service recognised

POLICE officers and staff from across West Yorkshire had their long service and dedication to the service recognised at an awards ceremony.

Officers from the rank of Constable to Chief Superintendent celebrated their time in the uniform at the ceremony.

It was held on Monday at Bishopgarth, the force training school in Wakefield.

Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison joined other senior officers to personally thank 20 officers and three civilians who have spent 22 years working for West Yorkshire Police.

Chief Superintendents Chris Hardern of Operational Support and Ian Whitehouse, Divisional Commander for North West Leeds, received their long service medals. Also honoured were Jayne Sykes and Carol Davis of Corporate Review.

Venezuela visit

TWO West Yorkshire officers have just returned from a Youth Crime conference in Venezuela.

PC Rory Romani and Inspector Bob Brayshaw were invited to the conference in Merida by representatives of the British Embassy in Venezuela who visited West Yorkshire last year.

PC Romani spoke about Operation Mineral, which aims to educate young people on dangers and consequences of carrying knives and guns.

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