YEP Says, March 5: Police’s absence from local events likely to backfire

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...and a day for doing it by the book

IF police chiefs in West Yorkshire decide they can no longer provide support for parades and other community celebrations in Leeds then it will be short-sighted in the extreme.

There can be no denying that the force – like every other in the country – is having to make drastic changes due to the budget cuts being enforced on it by central government.

However, it would be a mistake if the upshot was that officers no longer lent their backing to events which have become a traditional fixture in communities across the city.

For a start, these events could struggle to continue if police support is withdrawn.

Given that in many cases they contribute to the local economy and increase community spirit – something we need more of rather than less – it would be a major blow.

From the police’s point of view, rather than seeing these events as a hindrance, the force should regard them as an opportunity.

They present the ideal chance to build bridges within communities and strengthen ties between local people and police officers.

Police chiefs in West Yorkshire have, quite rightly, placed a great deal of emphasis on the importance of community policing.

Their presence at local events is a significant part of this approach and their absence will send completely the wrong message to those they insist they want to reach out to.

Let’s hope a solution can be found.

A day for doing it by the book

TODAY is World Book Day, when we come together to celebrate the written word.

Children across Leeds went to school this morning dressed as their favourite book characters, with Harry Potter emerging as the clear winner.

Events such as this one are important. Reading remains one of the key disciplines that determines the life chances of children and as such should be taken seriously.

Not by the youngsters themselves, of course, for whom every day should be a book day, not just March 5. If you want to make that happen, signing up to our Get Leeds Reading campaign would be a great start.

PIC: Simon Hulme

YEP Says: Dust ourselves down Leeds and become a cultural success