A POLICE officer has praised a Bradford community for coming together to try to tackle anti-social behaviour on Bonfire night.

Inspector Tom Casey said reported incidents of anti-social behaviour in the Toller Ward, a hotspot for Bonfire night disorder, were down this year, and this was partly due to the efforts made by the local community.

This included Councillors, volunteers and religious leaders taking to the street to try and discourage youngsters from throwing fireworks, attacking uniformed officers and building unauthorised bonfires.

Insp Casey was addressing members of Bradford Council’s Bradford West Area Committee on Wednesday night when he gave them an update on crime in the constituency.

As part of that update he spoke of the work being done over the bonfire period. Figures show that in the period around November 5 there were fewer calls to police over anti social behaviour in the Toller Ward, which includes Girlington, considered one of the worst areas for Bonfire night disorder, this year than in 2017.

He credited “community calmers” for this, saying: “People from mosques, elected members, youth services and volunteers came together on the streets. It was a great response.

“There were still some incidents that are now being investigated, and, although I can’t say much as it is an ongoing investigation, we are hoping for arrests and prosecutions.

“There is really good work going on in Bradford West, and it has been getting national and international praise.”

Addressing the committee, some of whom were part of the operation, he said: Thank you for giving up your time.”

The committee were also given crime figures for the area – which presented a mixed bag.

In the period from April to October, the number of crimes reported in the constituency was 8,804 – up from 7,361 over the same period in 2017 – a 19 per cent rise.

Insp Casey said this reflected a rise in reported crime across the UK, and said that nationally the thinking is this rise is down to better recording of crime and increased confidence of victims coming forward, rather than a real-world increase in attacks.

In that period there were 52 more shoplifting incidents in Bradford West, compared to the same period in 2017, there had been 31 more robberies and nine more car thefts.

But there had also been 186 fewer burglaries and 96 fewer incidents of criminal damage.

The committee was told that Bradford West saw the biggest drop in burglaries in any area of the district – down by almost a third.

Councillor Sinead Engel (Lab, Clayton and Fairweather Green) asked why there was such a big drop in burglaries, adding: “Is it that certain individuals are just taken out of circulation?”

Insp Casey replied: “Sometimes it can be down to one or two offenders. If they are out of prison and have an addiction, then they can be committing a series of offences in an area night after night.”

“We think that one burglary is too many, but this is still a significant reduction.”