In his latest article, Inspector Dave Browning explains how the Upper Valley Neighbourhood Policing Team is tackling rubbish/litter and drunk/rowdy behaviour.
I’ve just been looking at some survey results, showing that people in this area think that rubbish and litter are much less of a problem than in other parts of the county. You might be thinking “What’s that to do with the police?”.
Every six weeks I chair the Safer/Cleaner/Greener partnership meeting. One part of that looks at environmental issues and whether rubbish and litter are a problem. Council Neighbourhood Co-ordinators who sit on the meeting work out where resources need to be put for greatest effect. They base decisions on information from local police, neighbourhood wardens, public meetings and other partners.
Recently neighbourhood wardens Zoe Davis and Simon Bokowiec realised that there was a problem with rubbish on Midgley Recreation Ground. They worked with the school council at Midgley Junior and Infant School, who used it as a learning opportunity. Zoe and Simon helped them to work out how much rubbish there was, to devise a plan of action and to get the area cleaned up. As a result the recreation ground has a better atmosphere and is a place where people can have fun again.
Education is only part of the picture. In Calderdale £80 fines are regularly given out to those who drop litter (even as small as a cigarette end), both by Environmental Health officers and by neighbourhood wardens.
It is common sense that, if an area looks uncared for, then it will quickly become worse as people think that is an acceptable standard. One of the great strengths of the police service is that we co-ordinate work across the partnership and get things done. Local people get frustrated when they see litter, but have their confidence in the police/council partnership increased when they see something being done about it.
We are on the right track. There will always be people who drop litter. We have a number of days of action planned where this issue will be tackled. We’ll continue to encourage everyone to look after their local area, but deal firmly with those who choose to leave it a mess. I know I’ve said it before in this series of articles, but if local people tell us what’s going on, we’ll do the rest.