Pontefract: Calls to get more bobbies on the streets

Have your say

A stronger police presence on the streets is critical to tackling ‘free-runners’ and anti-social behaviour in the town.

That’s the view of Pontefract councillors Celia Loughran and Lorna Malkin, who met with West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson to campaign for more officers on the beat.

The force announced it is looking to recruit 300 new officers this year after getting approval to raise its share of Council Tax by 3.6 per cent.

Coun Loughran said: “Neighbourhood police presence is critical to managing anti-social behaviour in the town. We want people to feel comfortable and have a good experience while visiting.

“We had encouraging talks with Mr Burns-Williamson and we hope it will lead to more bobbies on our streets.”

Mr Burns-Williamson also discussed with councillors the on-going anti-social behaviour problems in the town, including ‘free-runners’.

Youths left a trail of damage on rooftops in November last year, after jumping between buildings on Ropergate and around the town centre.

The town had been promoted on a specialist website, with people from as far away as Bournemouth visiting the area to climb buildings, run along rooftops and jump gaps.

Business owners and councillors were concerned the town had become a hotspot for ‘free-runners’ and they will return in the coming months.

Coun Loughran said: “Neighbourhood police teams can help us tackle issues like ‘free-runners’ effectively. We value the work done by PCSOs who help make the town centre feel welcoming.

“We support the announcement that the police will recruit more officers.

“The region needs that when we have lost so many officers due to cuts already.”