Nightsafe 2 Brings Safety Boost To Leeds In Run-Up To Christmas.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

A multi-agency initiative aimed at boosting people’s safety in Leeds city centre in the run-up to the Christmas shopping and party season has been hailed a success.

Operation Nightsafe 2, which ran over the weekend, saw police and partner agencies joining forces to focus on prevention, engagement and enforcement across a range of issues in the city centre and its busy night-time economy.

Nightsafe 2 street briefing
Nightsafe 2 street briefing

The project, led by the city’s community safety partnership Safer Leeds, saw highly visible activity co-ordinated through a series of round-the-clock street briefings.

Among the wide-ranging positive results that the initiative brought was the identification by PCSOs of a suspect for two arson incidents in Swan Street and Butts Court which happened in the early hours of Thursday last week (28/11).

A 41-year-old man was arrested and charged with both offences and appeared at Leeds Magistrates Court on Saturday.

Co-ordinated activity across the city centre also saw just one street robbery reported during the whole period of the operation, which is significantly lower than would be expected over an average weekend.

Very few night-time assaults were reported, with Nighsafe officers chasing and detaining a suspect for one incident in the early hours of Saturday, which occurred as they patrolled nearby.

Nightsafe 2 in Briggate
Nightsafe 2 in Briggate

Proactive patrols by officers also resulted in a man being arrested for possession of a knife.

Seized knife
Seized knife

Police mounted officers found a high priority missing person who was taken to safety.

Even Chief Inspector Richard Padwell, who was leading the operation, got in on the action arresting a man for being drunk and disorderly following a disturbance at a bar.

Knife arches were deployed at various late-night venues, with support from the Force’s knife crime initiative Operation Jemlock, and big screen vehicles were used to broadcast prevention messaging on knife crime and other advice.

Knife arches
Knife arches

Patrols involving additional staff from Operation Servator and the city’s existing weekend night-time policing Operation Capital targeted key hotspot areas around the city centre.

A St John Ambulance treatment centre, with eight staff and a clinical lead, was set up in Briggate and helped avoid ambulances having to be deployed on at least three occasions, reducing the impact of night-time economy incidents on others in need of the service.

A series of licensing visits were carried out across the city centre, with support from a Security Industry Authority inspector.

There were focused deployments of Trading Standards, Council parking enforcement, street cleansing and taxi licensing teams.

Over the first evening, a total of 43 vehicles were checked with six vehicles suspended, five vehicles given rectification notices and six warnings issued for breaches of regulations.

Staff from the Street Support Team were working alongside outreach workers late into the night, engaging with around 40 people and helping a number of vulnerable individuals into emergency accommodation.

Officers from local neighbourhood teams across the district carried out vehicle checks on key arterial routes into the city centre and issued a number of fixed penalty notices for offences, including use of mobile phones and seatbelts. Off-road police motorcyclists were on patrol to focus on road safety issues.

Youth outreach workers from Leeds City Council Children’s Services and youth justice workers engaged with dozens of young people throughout the weekend, including the Friday night where they piloted a ‘safe space’ adapted van in Briggate.

Volunteers from Street Angels and Angels of Freedom ran a ‘sober up spot’ at Leeds train station to help those in need to get home safely.

Drugs safes at nine licensed premises were emptied during visits by officers with the contents being tested to get a better understanding of the substances in circulation in the night-time economy.

Recovered drugs
Recovered drugs

Chief Inspector Richard Padwell, who led the operation, said: “We achieved some really great results from our first instalment of Nightsafe back in June, and so it was excellent to see how well we were able to build on that firm foundation over the weekend.

“It was very clear from all the positive feedback we received from members of the public that, as well as making a material difference in tackling the issues that impact on people’s safety, the visibility of our work on the streets made people feel much safer too.

“We saw extremely an extremely low number of offences which is reassuring given the increased footfall that this time of year brings.

“It demonstrates just what we can achieve when we combine and co-ordinate the work of ourselves, our partner agencies, and third sector volunteers.

“As a partnership, we remain fully committed to doing everything we can to keep Leeds a safe place for everyone to enjoy both in the run-up to Christmas and throughout the year.”

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