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Bradford people fear drug crimes the most in county
Public fears about the level of drug crime are far worse in Bradford than in the rest of West Yorkshire.
A new survey shows that although people in the district feel slightly better overall about the issue than they did five years ago that improvement is significantly smaller than it is across the county.
The questionnaire, which measures people’s perception of crime rather than the number of actual crimes recorded, was carried out by the office of the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson.
It also reveals that 68 per cent of respondents in the city centre and university areas believe that drug crime is problem, compared with 64 per cent in 2008.
Overall, a total of 38 per cent of respondents across the Bradford district have fears about drug crime, a slight fall on the 41 per cent figure recorded in 2008.
The gulf between the district’s leafy, low-crime areas and the city’s most deprived estates also appears to be widening.
A report into the findings, being presented to Bradford Council next week, says it suggests there are “very high levels of public concern in the more deprived parts of the district”.
Councillor Glen Miller, Conservative group leader, called for the police to invest more resources in Bradford.
He said that way they could tackle drug crime, if it was a particular problem, or provide reassurance to people if it was not.
He said: “The police have to put more resources in to clamp down on it, or dispel the myths.”
Councillor Imran Hussain, the Labour-run Council’s executive member for safer and stronger communities, yesterday pledged to work with the police to deal with the issue.
He said regardless of whether people’s perceptions matched the real crime levels, communities could not live in fear.
He said: “If there is a perception of crime, it is very uncomfortable and threatening to communities, so we need to do everything possible to address the perception of crime as well as the actual crime.”
Coun Hussain said he was also pleased that the Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, had made the issue of drugs crime one of his priorities.
He added: “It is very important that local residents feel assured, feel comforted and feel that the issue is in hand.”
About 4,000 Bradford households completed the survey, which asked them how much of a problem there was in their local area with people either using or dealing drugs.
The number of people concerned about drug crime in North Bradford and Airedale has only dropped by one per cent, while in Bradford South – which covers much of the city – it has increased by one per cent.
Across West Yorkshire, the number of people saying drug crime was a problem in their area was 30 per cent, down from 36 per cent in 2008.
In Bradford city centre, concern over drug crime has reached 68 per cent, up from 64 per cent four years year ago.
The results were also more positive in Airedale, where concern over drug crime was low, and was either steady or falling in all areas.
In Wharfedale and Craven, for instance, only eight per cent of people were concerned about drug taking or drug dealing in their area, compared to 15 per cent four years ago.
Detective Chief Inspector Tony Nicholson, who heads up the Bradford District Quartz team, said: “We are pleased to note that the people of Bradford do not see drugs as much of a problem in the city as they were five years ago.
“We hope that this has been achieved by our ongoing operations with partner agencies, such as the DVLA and Bradford Council, to bring drug dealers before the courts.
“These were instigated from listening to our communities, and only in August this year, judges handed down sentences of more than 60 years to 23 people from a variety of backgrounds and communities across Bradford, all of whom were involved in the supply of drugs.
“Residents do not want these negative role models in their community and through operations like these, we are having some significant success in tackling the use and possession of illegal substances.
“Those who think they can live a criminal lifestyle in our city will quickly find themselves facing the full extent of the law.
“We continue to urge anyone who has information about drug crime in the Bradford District to contact the Police on 101 or CrimeStoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.”
The survey findings will be reported to Bradford Council’s Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee when it next meets, on Thursday.
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