South Leeds: Ex-commando on the front line of Morley’s crime fighting crusade

'HERE TO SERVE THE PUBLIC': Inspector Paul Sullivan says his officers 'make a big difference in people's lives'.

'HERE TO SERVE THE PUBLIC': Inspector Paul Sullivan says his officers 'make a big difference in people's lives'.

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The updates on Morley Neighbourhood Policing Team’s Facebook page lend weight to Inspector Paul Sullivan’s assertion that the area doesn’t suffer from any “major” issues.

A couple of shops have been fined for selling alcohol to underage customers; a cannabis smoker has been arrested in the street.

Insp Sullivan said: “We go to meetings and people will complain about dog poo.

“It’s something we’ll deal with but, honestly, we don’t have any major problem with crime.

“We benefit from having one of the lowest levels of crime of any area of Leeds.”

It’s unsurprising that Insp Sullivan is unphased by most of what he sees in the job.

The son of a miner, the 42-year-old joined the Armed Forces straight out of school and was once deployed as a commando in Iraq.

He has been with the police for 21 years and was a response officer – going out on 999 calls – before becoming an inspector.

His current role, which is largely a managerial position, requires a different approach.

“Everybody prefers being on the frontline – it’s interesting and good fun,” he said.

“This is a different kind of challenge, but we make a big difference in people’s lives.”

Insp Sullivan is in charge of three sergeant-led teams, each with five PCs and nine PCSOs.

He’s proud of their efforts to cut crime – statistics show there were 1,863 offences recorded in Morley since April; 198 fewer than during the same period last year.

A spike in the number of burglaries in Churwell earlier this year led to an operation to improve security at properties that had been targeted – as well as those either side.

An increase in thefts from cars on the Birdie estate – where the streets carry names of birds – prompted an awareness-raising operation and the use of plain-clothed officers.

Three areas are currently designated as ‘amber’ zones for anti-social behaviour because of repeat incidents – Wessington Road, the Lowry Road area around a Costcutter shop and Fairleigh Crescent, where there is a parade of shops that has attracted complaints.

Perhaps the biggest issue currently exercising the opinions of those with an interest in policing in Morley is the proposal to reduce the hours the Corporation Street station is open to the public.

A daily average of 16 people go into the station. “Not a huge number when you think about the fact that we look after 65,000 residents,” Insp Sullivan said.

“We are looking at what people come in for and if we can provide the same service in other ways.

“Any withdrawal of service is naturally going to cause people to be worried, But there is no proposed reduction in the number of officers

“We are alive to the fact we are here to serve the public, not the government and we will always have the interest of the public at heart.

“Regardless of whether the police station is open or not, if someone needs urgent attendance of an officer they would get it.”