"It is needed" - community of Swarcliffe react as police stop and search powers are extended following machete attack
Stop and search powers, being temporarily deployed by West Yorkshire Police in east Leeds after a man's hand was severed in a machete attack, have been welcomed by locals.
The legislation has now been passed twice to grant officers the right to search people or vehicles for offensive weapons or dangerous instruments in a defined area for a set period to prevent serious violence.
Under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, the original order was put in place for 24 hours from 3.06pm on Wednesday. A further 24-hour order has been authorised and will be reviewed again today (Friday) and covers areas of east Leeds including Harehills, Gipton, Halton Moor, Swarcliffe and adjoining areas either side of the A64.
It comes as police investigate the attack on an 18-year-old with a machete which took place in Stanks Parade, Swarcliffe, on Tuesday night
A shopkeeper on Stanks Parade told the Yorkshire Evening Post the incident was "shocking" and had not known anything like it in the 25 years.
He said: "It is a nice area here, we have had no problems. I have been here 25 years and you get the odd idiot drunk but nothing like this. It is the first time it has happened and is not a reflection of this area at all what has happened."
While on Thursday afternoon as the extension of the legislation was being debated, the Stanks area was practically deserted and there appeared to be very little police presence on the streets.
A police car was parked around the back of the row of shops where the attack happened but people seemed to be quietly and unperturbed going about their business. A couple of people popped in and out of the post office and general store while other shops remained closed with the shutters down.
Elsewhere on the estate, which is surrounded by a mix of council houses, traditional semis and pockets of new builds, people tended to their gardens, cars and some soaked up the sunshine on the green space off Pennywell Garth.
However, there may be a fear of such incidents happening again. The businessman added that he hoped the powers would be extended as it would be a deterrent.
He said: "It is a great idea as a deterrent. If you are doing nothing wrong, you have got nothing to fear and are not taking any freedoms away."
Dan Hurle who works with young people in LS14 said police intervention was needed.
Mr Hurle said: "It is needed. When I was a child, and I still see it now, they are walking around with knives because they fear what the other person is walking around with. I think it could cause a problem with the community because one person could get stopped five times a day and another would never get stopped.
"More police or PCSOs walking around on the streets is what is needed, let kids know they are there to help rather than stopping them."
West Yorkshire Police confirmed yesterday afternoon that a 24-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder in relation to the incident in Stanks Parade and remains in custody.
The victim is continuing to receive treatment in hospital.
Officers have also arrested a 13-year-old male on suspicion of criminal damage in relation to an incident at an address on April 9, which is believed to be linked.