On The Beat: Hunslet & Riverside

with Sergeant Danny Wilson

I joined West Yorkshire Police in May 2004 at the advanced age of 30, initially stationed at Millgarth on the City Neighbourhood policing team.

Sgt Danny Wilson

I transferred to City and Holbeck Division patrol where I spent over half of my career answering calls and proactively policing South Leeds. I moved to be an NPT officer in the Morley area, working with partner agencies to help deal with matters that were of a priority to the local community. It was here that I developed my interest in local policing.

I think the fact that I grew up and lived in the area I policed helped me understand the issues, seeing the problems the community had and understanding their concerns and finding innovative solutions through working with partners when policing alone could not resolve an issue.

I tutored several new officers then moved to be an assessor of new recruits. When I was officially promoted 14 months ago, I moved back to South Leeds as the Lead Sergeant for the Hunslet and Riverside area.

The role is challenging and although I am lead for Hunslet, I am operationally responsible for the other areas within Inner South when I am on duty. These are Beeston, Holbeck, Middleton and Belle Isle. My team consists of Police Constables and Police Community Support Officers, all of whom have dedicated areas. They get involved in community meetings, school talks, community and PACT meetings, community events and the PCSOs run contact points regularly in conjunction with our partners at Leeds Anti-social Behaviour Team (LASBT).

PCSOs are the hi-visibility face of the team, whilst Police officers deal with ongoing criminality within the community. The PCs on my team carry a workload and investigate ongoing issues, as well as going to ongoing crimes in areas of concern, as well as working with other policing units to reduce crimes, such as burglary and theft of motor vehicle. We use all the tools available to gather information about what is important to the local community.

We are increasing staff levels, which will allow us to spend more time in areas of concern and be more proactive in our approach to problem solving. This will allow us to provide a quicker solution to community issues. Simply arresting offenders does not always solve an issue, and our main role is focussed on reducing calls to the police by reducing harm in the community. We do this with the help of a wide range of partner agencies, from support services to enforcement.

My current priorities are to tackle and disrupt the illegal supply of drugs and the linked anti-social behaviour (ASB) which affects those living in the community. We conduct high visibility patrols in the area and use a number of different tactics to disrupt the drugs supply, including executing warrants where we have intelligence.

It has been mentioned before but we rely on community intelligence for this. If we receive reports, we will work to build an intelligence picture, however those supplying the information will never be told what we are doing due to the sensitive nature of such reports. This often causes a barrier with the community as it can be construed that we are not doing anything or that we are uninterested. This is not the case, and our silence does not mean that there is not any ongoing work. We will always apply for warrants based on the intelligence picture the community provides. The more reports we get, the more likely we will have a warrant application authorised.

We work closely with partners and housing managers to reduce calls for service in the area and target those who are harming the community. Arresting someone and sending them before the court is not the only work we do, and we support the council and other housing agencies in applying for partial and full closure orders to help close down problem addresses.

Photo: Shutterstock

Another priority is the reduction of begging in the area. We are involved in a multi-agency group that meets monthly using problem solving to address the ongoing issues. This now covers retail crime, drug use and ASB in and around the area, using the skills and support from partners to bring about change and resolutions to these issues.

This isn’t as simple as turning up and moving people on, we need a joined-up approach to look at what other services can offer to reduce ongoing ASB or help those with social issues. We are using community protection notices and civil injunctions in conjunction with LASBT to deal with people who won’t engage and continue in disruptive or criminal behaviour.

We have recently seen an upsurge in ASB and crimes committed by youths in the area, who have been causing serious damage and committing dangerous acts on motorways. We will continue to deal with any offences committed and will use our partners to deter this, using ASB Injunctions and housing cautions. We are working with partners to try and bring youth provisions into the area to try and divert local youths to more productive activities.

I ask that if anyone has any information they wish to pass on to us, you can contact us via any of the below, or attend any of our contact points where you can speak to representatives from LASBT and the police. If we do not have reports about issues then resources will be more likely deployed to other areas of concern.

You can help us by reporting any information or concerns you have directly to us or by using:

Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org
101 for non emergencies
999 if a crime is in progress or life is in danger
Via our live chat service: www.westyorkshire.police.uk/LiveChat (not 24/7)
or via our on line reporting form: www.westyorkshire.police.uk/report-it


This post was written by Sgt Danny Wilson of the Leeds South Neighbourhood Policing Team

Main photo: A closure order for a house associated with drug dealing in Hunslet


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