Hospitals and supermarkets dominate list of police callout and crime locations across Bradford

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Bradford Royal Infirmary Bradford Royal Infirmary

The district’s top ten crime hotspots and places officers are called to most often have been revealed by West Yorkshire Police.

Bradford Royal Infirmary tops the list for calls for help, with officers requested 517 times last year and the majority of calls about public safety or welfare.

And the place where most non-residential crimes were recorded last year was the Tesco Peel Centre superstore on Valley Road.

But West Yorkshire Police say incident levels are falling – in some cases bucking a national trend of increased shoplifting – because of work done by officers to tackle the root cause of problems.

Although police were called to the BRI an average of 1.4 times a day last year, in 2012 the daily total worked out at 1.8 visits per day – or 692 across the year.

For the first two months of 2014, officers were called to the hospital 66 times, and police say work with the Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is to thank for the reduction in call-outs.

Similar figures suggest police and businesses working together are making life too difficult for criminals at some of the locations they previously favoured.

While supermarkets feature heavily in the lists of the top ten locations for crime over the last three years, in 2012 Primark’s Kirkgate Centre store topped the Bradford league table, with 216 crimes recorded and 48 arrests made.

Last year the total was slashed by more than half to 99 crimes and 37 arrests, knocking the shop down to seventh place in the list, and so far this year the store does not appear at all on the list of businesses affected by the highest number of crimes.

Figures, released under a Telegraph & Argus Freedom of Information request, show supermarkets, including branches of Morrisons, Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s at locations across the city make up some of the worst crime spots in recent years.

Although some offences include violence, drugs and other issues, the bulk of those crimes are made up of shoplifting and filling station ‘drive offs’.

Bradford police Superintendent Scott Bisset said officers worked with businesses and hospitals to identify problems and find ways of reducing crime or demands on police resources.

He said police had strong relationships with firms like Primark and the big supermarkets to identify the causes of crime, then take action to reduce them.

That work also includes sharing information such as intelligence on suspected criminals and the methods they use with stores’ own security staff to ensure all those involved in fighting crime could work as effectively as possible.

“Nationally, shoplifting has seen quite an increase, but Bradford has bucked the trend and has seen a reduction from last year,” he said.

He added that some retailers had “brilliant ideas about how to tackle crime and prevent financial loss”.

“Some retailers have devised crime prevention training, which we will share with other retailers,” he said.

A Morrisons spokesman said: “We work hard to try and ensure that all our supermarkets provide a safe and welcoming environment, but unfortunately supermarkets will always be a target for shoplifting and other types of anti-social behaviour.

“We train all our staff to be vigilant and work closely with the police to report crime and catch those responsible.”

Supt Bisset said hospital sites presented different challenges, with large volumes of staff and visitors on individual sites, including many who could be regarded as vulnerable. As such, high numbers of calls would be expected by police. However, work with those organisations was helping to bring down numbers, which meant officers were freed up for other duties.

“We have a dedicated police presence at Bradford Royal Infirmary to increase confidence and safety for staff and those who attend for treatment.

“It is not just a presence, we are working with BRI to reduce calls for service and to look at how to prevent crime. That is working really well.

“There are no losers, this is what is at the heart of neighbourhood policing,” he said.

BRI assistant general manager Karon Snape said: “Bradford Royal Infirmary is one of the largest sites in the city and every year hundreds of thousands of people pass through our buildings, which are open 24/7, 365 days of the year, so it is not surprising that we get our fair share of incidents requiring police attention.

“We have a well-publicised zero-tolerance approach to anti-social behaviour and violence and aggression towards our staff, patients and visitors. Our staff do not hesitate to call the police if they have any concerns or issues.

“We also have our own dedicated security team whose first concern is keeping patients, visitors and staff, and our property and grounds safe at all times.

“This team is backed by the presence of a large and sophisticated CCTV network in which we have invested heavily over recent years.

“Our security team, which has expanded in recent years, is supported by a close working relationship with West Yorkshire Police. Since July 2013, police community support officers have been based in our A&E department’s police room and have a presence at Bradford Royal Infirmary seven days a week.

“In that time, our crime detection rate has gone up 55 per cent, calls to the police have been significantly reduced, and we actively pursue prosecutions for crimes committed to either people or property.

“We hope this enhanced detection rate and visible police and security presence will act as a deterrent to those who disrupt NHS staff as they go about their work.

“While our own security staff work hard to prevent incidents, we naturally request regular police support for any serious problems which take place in our buildings or grounds.

“We are continuing to work together with the police to send out a clear message that anti-social behaviour and violence and aggression towards our staff, patients and visitors will not be tolerated and our drive to reduce all types of crime continues.”

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