On The Beat: Women’s Safety, Bike Safety and Knife Crime

This month saw International Women’s Day on March 8. As part of a program focused on empowering women in the community, Sergeant Williams and Sergeant Jones attended a self-defense course at Holbeck Moor Park.

These classes are open to the public and aim to build women’s confidence through self-defense. Violence against women and girls is a key priority for my team and for all police services.

Your Neighborhood Policing Team is committed to creating safer spaces in the community and supporting groups that contribute positively to women’s safety.

For more information on International Women’s Day, visit www.international womensday.com. This year’s theme was Breaking Gender Bias, and the website offers resources and other information aimed at celebrating women’s achievements, raising awareness of bias and taking action for equality.

Last month, I wrote briefly about bike safety. Your Neighborhood Police Team staff continued their Bike Safety initiative, where tips and resources were available for safety and crime prevention, including free bike safety markings. Team officers and PCSOs hosted an event at Leeds Urban Bike Park in Middleton, in partnership with Bike Register. These events represent a great opportunity for the team to be visible and available to members of the South Leeds community. Please check our social media sites for information on future events.

One of the PCSOs on the team recently visited the Hunslet Youth Club to conduct a weapons and violence awareness workshop with local children. Preventing children from carrying a weapon and/or using violence is really important and essential work to keep children safe in the community.

Statistically, you are still more likely to be injured by a weapon if you carry one yourself. My team performs weapons sweeps in public areas such as playgrounds to recover hidden weapons. I always encourage anyone carrying a knife or other weapon to turn it in at a police station.

The local community will likely be aware of the numerous operational police presences in the Beeston and surrounding areas over the past few weeks, following reports of a discharge of guns. Rest assured that there was a significant police intervention to ensure the safety of the local community. There has been an increase in resources in the area to provide you with high visibility patrols to reassure you throughout the day and night.

Some team members travel to Northamptonshire Police to review their processes around exploiting people in their homes. This is sometimes called cuckoo and can be a trigger for widespread antisocial behavior.

Indeed, the Leeds South community has experienced this kind of offense and subsequent ASB. My team is proactively improving how we respond to this form of exploitation and the damage it causes to the wider community.

A final word from me regarding updates for victims of crime. This is always an area that the force seeks to improve. West Yorkshire Police has developed a Crime Tracker, which provides the ability to monitor your crime through direct access via the Internet, around the clock.

The tracker can keep you updated on the status of the crime and the contact details of the officer handling your case. It also allows you to leave a message for the agent in a contact form. The tracker is part of the force victim care and support program, and it’s something I recommend to victims. The plotter is available via www.westyorkshire.police.uk/crimetracker.

This post was written by Inspector Tom PerrySouth Leeds Neighborhood Police Team

Photo: Sgt Williams joined a women’s self-defense course on Holbeck Moor

Mara R. Wilmoth