Why police will be out in force in Leeds city centre this weekend
Police will be out in force in Leeds city centre this weekend as they stage a major operation to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.
The wide-ranging initiative, designed to boost public safety, will see officers teaming up with council staff, volunteer organisations and city centre bars from Friday afternoon right through until Sunday.
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It will include highly-visible prevention, education and enforcement work, which will be co-ordinated through a series of round-the-clock street briefings.
Chief Inspector Richard Padwell, who is leading the operation, said: “Leeds is the third largest city in the country and has a growing night-time economy that brings in excess of 100,000 people into the city centre every Friday and Saturday night.
“We want to make sure that the city centre is as safe and free from crime and anti-social behaviour as it can possibly be."
As well as reducing crime and anti-social behaviour and reassuring the public, the project aims to build stronger links and a more joined-up approach to community safety across the key agencies and groups in Leeds city centre.
Those joining Safer Leeds, West Yorkshire Police and Leeds City Council in supporting the operation include British Transport Police, Leeds BID, Businesses Against Crime in Leeds, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, UK Border Agency, Leeds General Infirmary, First Bus, Street Angels and Angels of Freedom.
Chief Insp Padwell said: “We already have very well-established partnership arrangements running every weekend to keep people safe, but we believe the more we can co-ordinate our efforts across as wide a partnership as possible the better.
“We have recently re-introduced multi-agency late-night street briefings and reinvigorated the City Centre Partnership Board to underpin that work and we hope the Nightsafe initiative will help us to build stronger links and ways of working that ultimately help to make Leeds city centre an even safer place for people to enjoy all the city has to offer.”
The key themes of the operation include safeguarding children and young people, tackling anti-social behaviour, preventing street crimes such as robbery and theft, and tackling the organised supply of drugs on the street and associated violence.
Teams will be working to reduce crime in and around transport hubs, and carrying out checks covering a range of areas from environmental health and waste management through to fire safety and immigration.
Work will also be done to build on the ongoing Operation Servator, which encourages members of the public to help in identifying suspicious activity linked to crime or terrorism.
Coun Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member for Safer Leeds, said: “We work extremely hard with partners to ensure that Leeds city centre continues to be somewhere that offers an enjoyable, vibrant and safe atmosphere for both residents and visitors to our city.
“Through the introduction of the Nightsafe initiative, we will be taking an innovative approach to public safety in the city centre, which focuses on three key areas; prevention, education and enforcement. Not only will we be working with a range of partners, including West Yorkshire Police, but also businesses and venues as part of our proactive engagement work.
"This is a crucial element of our joined-up approach which provides a reassuring visual presence in the night-time economy.”