A DROP in the number of incidents fire crews were called out to over Bonfire Night shows Bradford is “moving in the right direction” when it comes to tackling the problem period.

The claim was made during a meeting when Councillors were told of the incidents emergency services were called to over the Halloween and Bonfire period.

Members of Bradford Council’s Corporate Scrutiny Committee were told that last year’s season saw hundreds of volunteers and youth workers deployed across the district to help avoid the violent disorder that has plagued Bradford on previous Bonfire nights.

Councillors said the issue in Bradford had improved enough that emergency services were confident enough to instead deploy much of their resource to incidents in Leeds.

'Supply of eggs' cut off to prevent Bonfire Night disorder in Denholme

Last year the fire service saw a big drop in Bonfire related incidents in West Yorkshire.

In 2018 there were 482 incidents, but this fell to 270 in 2019.

There was also a slight drop in recorded crimes over the period between the October 1 and November 6. In 2018 there were 110 crimes reported and in 2019 this dropped to 102.

In Bradford extra crews were sent out to clear fly tipping that could be used for illegal bonfires, and cleared 10 tonnes of waste more than they normally would.

The Committee was given an update on Bonfire Disorder during a presentation on the Community Safety Partnership Board.

The report to the Committee said: “The Bonfire period in 2019 continued the trend in recent years towards reduced incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour.

“As in previous years, communities, elected members and voluntary sector groups worked alongside statutory services providing a significant partnership response. This helped to educate and build resilience but also challenge negative behaviours and, where necessary, take appropriate enforcement action.

“Local communities were empowered to be part of the solution and were engaged in pre-emptive and proactive actions that minimised problems and controlled incidents before they got out of hand, especially in hot spot areas.

“This led to a number of potential incidents being minimised or avoided completely.”

Over 350 volunteers were enlisted in Bradford East and Keighley alone, made up of a mix of residents, business reps, voluntary groups and faith leaders.

The Youth Service deployed 38 staff, who ended up dealing with almost 700 young people out on the streets, including some in 40 strong groups.

The Bradford Anti-Social Behaviour Team issuied 163 warning letters over the period.

At Thursday’s meeting Councillor Kamran Hussain said: “On Bonfire Night all parties across the district worked really well together.

“It shows the community spirit and what can be done when all communities come together around the table to discuss an issue and how to protect our neighbours. I have been a big critic of this in the past, but in recent years we have been getting this spot on and we’re moving in a positive direction.”

Councillor Mike Pollard (Cons, Baildon) had sat in the fire service control room on Bonfire Night, and saw how a large number of crews were sent to the Harehills area of Leeds for a large scale disorder.

He said: “A couple of years ago the emergency services would have been reluctant to send all their available units to Harehills area, but the good work that went on in Bradford meant that significant resources could be sent to Leeds without any really negative impact in Bradford.”