Let’s start by making it clear that the huge majority of young people in this area are decent and respectful, making a positive contribution to life in the areas covered by this paper.
Survey figures for our area back this up, with fewer than 20% of respondents to the Police and Crime Commissioner’s survey saying they were unhappy with young people hanging around or being disruptive.
That is down from 40% in 2009 and a credit to young people, the police/council partnership and everyone else involved.
Recently some people told us that they didn’t like going through Calder Holmes Park in Hebden Bridge because of under-age drinkers and general nuisance. Sergeant Aidan Hodgson headed a partnership team that has made a big impact. Working with the Friends of Calder Holmes Park, Neighbourhood Co-ordinator Jae Campbell, local Councillors, schools and shop keepers the perceptions of people going through the park have improved and people are enjoying the space again.
If you’ve been following my column you’ll know that I think perceptions are really important. If a group of decent young people are simply hanging around outside a shop and potential shoppers see them that way, they will happily use the shop. Conversely if potential shoppers perceive them as threatening, they will go elsewhere to do their shopping and people’s confidence in their local area diminishes. My team always listen when they tell us of your concerns and fears, take appropriate action and let you know when we have done so.
All people have to do is tell us what’s going on and we’ll do the rest. We’ve demonstrated at Calder Holmes Park that our police/council partnership can get things back to normal quickly. We’ll keep checking it stays that way, particularly in the long summer evenings ahead, where some people (not necessarily young people) will be tempted to have one drink too many and misbehave.
As for other areas, we’ll carry on finding ways to discuss with local people what’s on their minds and if people are being a nuisance we’ll do something about it.