Slideshow: Taking action to make Leeds a safer city

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The city centre was the focus of a ‘day of action’ yesterday aimed at making Leeds a safer place.

Spearheaded by West Yorkshire Police’s city centre team, the operation kicked off at 7am when the various organisations taking part headed out to talk to people who had spent the night on the streets.

Inspector Andy Berriman, who is Leeds City Commander, said: “We found about seven sleeping rough. A couple were already referred into the outreach team and we’re looking at getting them into housing.”

A total of 12 referrals for support were made by the Leeds Street Outreach team.

As the day rolled on, a dispersal order was issued to prevent street begging for 48 hours and eight people were moved on.

Other areas of focus were the safety of taxis, the cleanliness of streets, parking problems and fire safety of prominent premises.

Police and other agencies get a briefing on the day of action in Leeds city centre.

Police and other agencies get a briefing on the day of action in Leeds city centre.

Five arrests had been made by mid-afternoon, including one for a serious assault and another for dangerous driving.

A further arrest a drug related offence led to significant amount being found during a subsequent house search.

The immigration teams served three people with papers which could require them to leave the UK and two immigration related arrests were made.

Parking services identified a real problem area that will now be subject to daily patrols after 10 fixed penalty tickets were issued.

We all share the same vision to make Leeds the safest city in the UK.

Inspector Andy Berriman, Leeds City Commander

Meanwhile, Leeds Hackney licensing team took one vehicle off the road and gave repairs notices to four others.

A second dispersal order was also issued in the evening to move on youths who have been congregating around Briggate, the bus station and Leeds market.

The one-day operation brought together 53 people from different organisations, including Leeds City Council, West Yorkshire Fire Service, Business Against Crime in Leeds and Big Issue North.

Insp Berriman said: “Today has been an opportunity for everybody who we meet with regularly to pull together.

Members of West Yorkshire Police's city centre team.

Members of West Yorkshire Police's city centre team.

“It’s not just about policing. We all share the same the same vision to make Leeds the safest city in the UK – to achieve that we’ve got to work together.”

The day of action coincided with the release of the latest crime figures, which showed a 28.6 per cent rise in West Yorkshire in the 12 months to March.

Police said greater compliance with recording standards and a drive to encourage the recording of domestic abuse and sexual offences, past and present, were factors.

It said the true rise was only 4.5 per cent once this was taken into account.

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