I expect like us you have been worried by reports in the local media about anti-social behaviour in and around Thorpe Edge, Idle, Ravenscliffe and Greengates and how the bad behaviour of a few is impacting our community.
The issue of anti-social behaviour is not new to Bradford, but the recent increase is concerning for us all. We wanted to update you about the work local Liberal Democrat Councillors in Idle & Thackley and Eccleshill have been doing to help tackle these problems.
Listening to residents
In addition to our fortnightly advice surgeries, we have spoken to many people on the doorsteps, via email and on the phone, and shared their issues with the Council, the Police and others. We have also spent time with worshippers from St John’s Church and other groups. This has resulted in discussions with the Council, Police and Incommunities to make sure that the various agencies who are responsible for keeping our area safe are working together to find solutions. This work has resulted in some offenders being visited by the Police, their landlords and others and warned of the risks to their families if the behaviour continues.
Raising the issue with the Council, Incommunities and others
In Early March both Cllr Knox and I questioned the Council Portfolio holder for safer communities on anti-social behaviour and the actions the Council were taking to make sure that services local people rely upon are protected. We followed this up with a multi-agency meeting in Javelin House with West Yorkshire Police. We have also met with senior managers at Incommunities to discuss the specific issues with the High-Rise Flats and York House. We are expecting an announcement of significant changes shortly.
We are also expecting a number of additional activities such as truancy sweeps to make sure that children and young people are where they should be and are attending school full-time.
In April a letter was sent to the West Yorkshire Mayor demanding she steps in to resolve concerns we have raised between First Bus and the Police. It seemed to us that they were not working well together to collect evidence of the attacks on the buses or arrest anyone in connection with these incidents. As the Labour West Yorkshire Mayor has overall political responsibility for both policing and public transport, we expect the Mayor to tackle the failure of both to work together head-on.
Following the Easter Weekend, we have now stepped up our efforts. I have written to the Council’s City Solicitor asking them to use a piece of rarely used legislation that will make sure that the various partners step up and work together on this. This is a belt and braces approach following months of what often seems like little to show for the promises made to tackle the problems.
Our children deserve better
We believe some of the background to the current rise in anti-social behaviour is the years of failure in the Council’s Children’s Services. For the second time now a Labour administration at Bradford Council has had services for our children removed from its control. Labour is now spending £17.4 million a year paying for temporary staff in children’s services, where the work environment was described by one whistleblower as ‘toxic’.
Labour Councillors cut funding to the Early Years Services and Early Help Schemes. These were in place to pick up problems before they ballooned into the sorts of anti-social behaviour and criminality we are currently experiencing. It was revealed earlier this year that the Council’s Families First programme (a scheme that offers support and help to families who are beginning to struggle, to make sure that those children still get to have the best start in life) had failed to claim millions from the Government, money that should have been spent on helping families to sort out problems and get on with life.
With elections just weeks away, every candidate will say they want a better future for our children. Every candidate will claim they can reduce crime but with one exception. Labour party politicians hold the positions of the Mayor, The Police and Crime Commissioner, the Leader of the Council and represent our area in Parliament. It is clear to us that even with this amount of power they cannot deliver for our children, don’t have the answers to tackle crime and cannot even get the easy jobs done like street cleaning and lighting. Labour is letting us all down.
I hope this leaves you with a better understanding of the work we have been doing to get to grips with this issue.
There are three ways you can help us with this work:
1. Report: When we receive information we pass it to the relevant authorities, and where possible report back action being taken. We have also supported the Public Space Protection Order for our area and would urge people to report concerns here too: https://www.saferbradford.co.uk/community-safety/public-space-protection-order/
2. Join: Help us by joining in a Community Walk-Through for your area. We are doing these alongside our regular surveys that are conducted either on a street-by-street basis or via post.
3. Vote: On 5th May vote in Eccleshill for a hard-working member of the Liberal Democrat team. Agnieszka (or Aggy as she likes to be known) lives in Ravenscliffe, understands the issues and wants to make a real difference. You can find out more about the Liberal Democrat council election candidates here
Cllr Brendan Stubbs
Liberal Democrat Councillor for Eccleshill Ward
PS. This election is a straight choice between another Labour Councillor to let us down or a hard-working member of the Liberal Democrat Team who will stand up for our area.
You can read more about the Liberal Democrat plans for Bradford here: www.bradfordlibdems.org.uk, a clear plan to deliver a safer, cleaner and greener Bradford where children can get the best start in life.