Injunction Sought To Tackle Firework Yobs In Leeds Hotspot Area.
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
Groups of youths will face arrest under an injunction being sought by the police and council to tackle firework-related anti-social behaviour that has plagued an area of Leeds.
Over Halloween and Bonfire Night periods in recent years, residents in ‘The Kelsalls area of Burley have had their lives made a misery by large groups congregating on the streets and indiscriminately letting off fireworks, often aiming them at people, homes, cars and the emergency services.
The cluster of streets, bordered by Alexandra Road and Burley Lodge Road and including Burley Lawn park, has been described at times as being “like a firework factory going up”.
Between September and December last year nearly a third of the 151 calls made to the police from the area related to firework-related nuisance.
Groups of 30 to 50 youths were involved in anti-social behaviour around the streets and in the park causing considerable distress and intimidation to residents, many of whom would not go out after dark.
Incidents included roads being barricaded, fireworks launched along the ground at people and vehicles, and the anti-social use of motorbikes and cars.
Many of those involved wore masks or other face coverings which has presented challenges in identifying them and taking appropriate action.
Police and council teams, including the local neighbourhood policing team and officers from Leeds Anti-Social Behaviour Team, are working closely in partnership to tackle the issues this year.
To support their work, Leeds City Council is applying to Leeds County Court for an injunction under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014. It will be used against ‘persons unknown’, being anyone engaged in anti-social behaviour in the area.
It would create an exclusion zone covering the area in which anyone would be forbidden from:
Being in possession of any firework or other explosive or pyrotechnic material in public.
Disguising their identity with items such as masks for scarves
Congregating in a group of three or more and engaging in behaviour that causes nuisance to residents.
Behaving in a manner that is threatening or abusive to any other person engaged in lawful behaviour in public.
The restrictions would be backed by a power of arrest.
Inspector Andy Loftus, who heads the Leeds North West Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “The dangerous use of fireworks and other related anti-social behaviour is an issue that affects communities across Leeds at this time of year, but the situation that comes about in this particular area of Burley stands out as an absolute priority for us to tackle.
“For a sustained period of weeks and months, this concentration of residential streets linked by ginnels becomes the setting for a completely unacceptable level of behaviour that has a really negative impact of the quality of life of people living there.
“We have been working in partnership with our council colleagues to address these issues over the years but we have faced some challenges both in terms of our ability to identify suspects and to be proactive in targeting those involved before incidents occur.
“This injunction, if successfully granted, will give us much-needed additional powers to intervene at an early stage and prevent incidents before they occur. We hope this will help to reduce the number of incidents and improve the situation for the long-suffering residents.
“We also hope our use of these additional powers will send a very clear deterrent message to those youths who think it acceptable to behave like this.”
Cllr Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member with responsibility for Safer Leeds, said: “We will not tolerate any form of anti-social behaviour in our communities, and will always use every tool at our disposal to put a stop to it. I welcome therefore the application for this injunction to tackle and stop firework-related anti-social behaviour in the community of Burley.”